On a remote holiday park in Cornwall, a young woman is drawn into a mysterious obsession when she suspects her boyfriend has cheated on her.
‘Make Up’ is a really impressive coming of age film from first time director Claire Oakley, about a young woman who has just moved to a remote holiday park to be with her boyfriend. Molly Windsor stars as Ruth, who first appears to us as she arrives to greet Tom (Joseph Quinn), her boyfriend who works at the holiday park. She seems young, insecure, and solely reliant on Tom, and her insecurities increase when she starts to suspect that Tom has been cheating on her with a mysterious redhead. As she starts to explore her new surroundings, she meets Jade (Stefanie Martini), which further complicates her relationship with Tom.
I really, really liked this film and felt it was cleverly constructed, particularly in how it presents itself as one thing before starting to move in a different direction entirely. It does an excellent job of portraying the insecurities of youth and the confused feelings that come with discovering who you are as a person, with Molly Windsor’s portrayal of Ruth really drawing you into her inner conflict. The setting is brought to life really well by the direction, with the crashing waves from the Cornish coast and a good use of symbolism adding to the eerie atmosphere that surrounds Ruth. The film has a feel of a filmmaker dabbling in different genres, with flashes of horror interspersed with the central narrative, and I felt the symbolism employed worked well to gradually outline exactly where Ruth’s story was going.
‘Make Up’ is a very strong debut from Claire Oakley about a young woman starting to find herself, caught between embracing her desires and pulling back from them, and I thought this was an arresting piece of work from a filmmaker with a keen eye for a strong story bolstered by stylish visual flourishes.
Directed By: Claire Oakley
Starring: Molly Windsor, Joseph Quinn, Stefanie Martini, Theo Barklem-Biggs and Lisa Palfrey