Initially, I was leery to watch this movie because I thought it was about vampires. I’m just not that into those creatures of the night. However, Stoker turned out to be a smart and mysterious psychological thriller with a very strange girl named India (Mia Wasikowska) at the center of the twisted plot. Keep your pencils away from this girl!
The film begins with the death of India’s father Richard on her 18th birthday. India doesn’t seem extremely upset over this. If anything, she’s apathetic. This is the first indication that India is not your normal teenage girl. India also doesn’t have a close bond with her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). India always spent more time hunting with her father, leaving her mother out. At Richard’s funeral, the two are reunited with India’s long lost Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). His thick layer of charm and good looks are rather unnerving. Charlie decides to stay with India and Evelyn during the difficult time. Let the odd events begin.
Evelyn falls for Charlie’s sly tricks instantly, but India is very standoffish at first as Charlie relentlessly tries to win her over. He buys her ice cream, offers her rides to school, and cooks lavish dinners, but India isn’t having any of it. Soon after Charlie’s arrival, people close to the women begin to disappear. The truth about Charlie’s past eventually comes out and once it does, India has to make a decision. Out with the old or in with the new?
There is so much to talk about in this film. Symbolism is very important here. Charlie’s belt, the spiders, India’s shoes…they all add to the mystery and drama of the plot. Every year on her birthday, India gets a new pair of the exact same black and white flats. These represent her childhood. Near the end of the film, Uncle Charlie gifts India a pair of black high heels, signaling her transition into womanhood. She cannot go back to simpler times. Also interesting is how India attracts spiders. One even crawls up her leg. India is much like a spider with the honed senses she used to hunt animals for years.
Mia Wasikowska managed to portray the awkward, complex India with ease. I didn’t know that she also played Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never seen that version. After seeing Mia’s striking performance in Stoker, I just have to see her as Alice. The dark visuals and eerie atmosphere of the film are similar to a Gothic fairy tale. The evil uncle, tragedy, and a loss of innocence are all themes that can be found in authentic fairy tales. Though, I don’t think Stoker would be appropriate to be made into a children’s story. It’s much too sexual and violent for that.
I kind of have a crush on crazy Uncle Charlie. There’s a ridiculous scene in the film where India refuses to take a ride from Charlie and all the girls on her school bus swoon and giggle over how handsome he is. Matthew Goode is certainly easy on the eyes. He dresses impeccably in Stoker and is always the perfect gentleman. His character reminds me of someone I once had a thing for: beautiful on the outside, but cuckoo bananas on the inside. Uncle Charlie spent some time in a psychiatric hospital, so maybe that’s why I like him. You know I’m drawn to the crazies!
Nicole Kidman was also awesome in this film. The scene in which she wishes life would tear her daughter India apart is probably my favorite from the movie. So badass. It’s definitely a turning point.
I would highly recommend this film to my gothy readers. I think you’ll fall in love with India like I have. 🙂