Many of Britain’s most celebrated actors attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. Their rollcall of alumni is too extensive to list, but the likes of Richard Attenborough, Kenneth Branagh, Vivien Leigh, Cynthia Erivo and Ralph Fiennes have been through their doors. Another notable graduate is Andrea Riseborough, who is fast becoming one of the most exciting British actors working today. In Here Before, she produces yet another masterly performance.
When a new family moves in next door, Laura (Riseborough) quickly becomes captivated by their young daughter, Megan (Niamh Dornan). Her presence sparks memories of her own daughter, who they lost several years ago. She’s convinced that there’s a connection between her and the girl, which soon becomes an obsession; consuming her life and driving increasingly erratic behaviour. Cracks begin to appear between Laura, her husband and son.
Here Before works so well because the drama is shrouded a mystery. The material is expertly handled, both through a compelling central performance from Riseborough and incredibly taut direction and pacing from writer/director Stacey Gregg. This is what elevates her debut feature above many of its peers. Here Before keeps its audience on edge throughout, creating a complex and intriguing thriller and fragmented character study.
Here Before open in UK and Irish cinemas on 18 February.