This post may contain affiliate links and spoilers. Please read our disclosure policy.
|Screenplay By||Luke Goebel
|Based On The Novel Of The Same Name By||Ottessa Moshfegh|
|Date Released (In Theaters)||December 8, 2023|
|Date Released (Film Festival – NewFest)||October 14, 2023|
|Film Length||1 Hour 37 Minutes|
|Content Rating||Rated R|
|Noted Characters and Cast|
Content Rating Explanation
- Dialog: cursing
- Violence: gun violence (Most of which are jump scares), including depiction of murder and suicide
- Sexual Content: Masturbation scenes (non-nude), and other implied sex acts
- Miscellaneous: drinking and smoking
This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.
Eileen, at 24, doesn’t have a remarkable life. She works at the local juvenile prison, has a New England accent, isn’t majoring in anything in school, and just goes home to her retired drunk father every day.
That is until Dr. Rebecca shows up to be the new therapist to the boys. She is sophisticated, witty, Harvard educated and takes an interest in Eileen. Heck, she says the kind words that Eileen’s dad utterly refuses to. And it is because of this seduction Eileen’s life unravels or perhaps has just begun.
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
With her mom dead and sister leaving as soon as she had the chance, Eileen is alone and often on her own. Yes, she has co-workers, but her boss is a bit mean, and while her other co-workers are nice, their relationship doesn’t extend beyond the prison grounds. So she spends most of her days working, getting her father his daily bottles, and being told she is nothing, won’t ever meet anyone, and all the kind of things that would break a person down.
Harvard Educated, classy, and raised by her uncle, Rebecca is a woman of grace but with a bit of an edge to her. The kind who knows how to attract most men and women as well and certainly draws attention thanks to her demeanor.
Ann is the mother to one of the boys in Moreland prison, who Rebecca thinks is more involved in her son’s crime than she lets on.
Notable Performances or Moments
Anne Hathaway delivers in such a way that she is bound for some form of recognition as Rebecca. She is charming, seductive, trouble, and as cool, calm, and collected as she seems, she is also hiding something. She brings this classic sense of a femme fatale from the noir films of yesteryear, especially since we don’t really get to know Rebecca.
Yes, she gives us a few anecdotes, like where she went to school and that she is an orphan, but it is all surface-level stuff that could easily be a white lie. But that is part of the appeal. You don’t know if it is true, but, like Eileen, feeling like you are being told something makes you feel special and helps you understand why this woman so enamors Eileen.
Ann gives a monologue, one about her marriage and son, and it is the type that leaves a mark on you. Like many, I’ve seen Ireland in films and shows before, including the recent “Birth/Rebirth.” But, even with what can be seen as a small role, it is so impactful. Her conversation with Rebecca and Eileen, albeit under duress, is the type of scene that feels like a breakout or breakthrough, despite Ireland working consistently since around 2007.
For truly, in that moment, which is close to the film’s apex, you forget about Hathaway and Rebecca’s charm and Eileen’s troubles, and it is all about Ann and Ireland and the compromises they made for a sense of love and safety. I’d even say I got a flashback of Mo’Nique’s performance in “Precious” when she explained what she went through to Mariah Carey’s character and allowed for some sense of companionship.
At times, Eileen can seem more like the medium for more interesting characters and performances. For while she has an individual story of the daughter of an ungrateful man, the big and showy parts belong to others. Yet, in Eileen being plain and long-suffering, you grow to appreciate her role in allowing others to seem big.
Her father, the bully he is, you often think she is used to him, the abuse, the push that she is nothing and will have nothing, but then with a single tear after she saved her dad’s life, you see she hasn’t gotten used to the abuse and resigned herself. She still hoped that he might one day value her, say thank you, or show some sign he loves her.
It’s with that you’re reminded that it isn’t always the showy performances with the comical dialog or big moments that are the best. Sometimes, it is watching someone somehow endure without losing it. Well, until they do.
It Wastes No Time And Keeps Things Interesting
For a book adaptation, “Eileen” doesn’t waste any time. The Pacing is quick at what slowly has become an almost unheard-of time length of around 90 minutes. Now, does that come at a sacrifice of not learning much about Eileen’s sister and mom or even seeing her fall into Rebecca’s trap? Yes.
However, characters like Rebecca can lose their luster, and watching Eileen suffer can become frustrating, even as we see her dreams of killing herself or others. So, sticking to the point, hitting the main beats, and giving the lead characters just enough to get you latched is a blessing, and one can only hope the creators of thrillers and dramas remember that two hours shouldn’t be the goal post and that there is nothing wrong with cutting the fat.
Who Is This For?
Those who love plain Jane characters who get swept up into the madness of a charismatic person and end up surprising you.
If you like this movie, we recommend:
- Last Night In Soho: Thomasin McKenzie plays another plain Jane character swept up in the life of a chaotic, alluring, but dangerous person.
Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.
Eileen (2023) – Overview
“Eileen” is the perfect movie if you want to watch a quick and compelling thriller with performances that are just as much able to get potential awards recognition as they are able to get the average moviegoer interested in what’s happening on screen.
It Wastes No Time And Keeps Things Interesting - 84%
Eileen - 84.5%
Ann - 88%
Rebecca - 87%