For a break from the Christmas films this December, head to the cinema to catch Eileen: a dark new thriller adapted from Ottessa Moshfegh’s book of the same name. Directed by William Oldroyd (best known for Lady Macbeth) Eileen is an intriguing story set in Boston in the ‘60s, centred around the relationship between two women working in a prison – played by Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie. The trailer has given us a first glimpse at the film, but here’s everything to know before you head to the cinema.
Eileen: Everything We Know So Far
You might know Moshfegh from her famed book My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but a few years before this was published she released her debut, Eileen. The Booker Prize-nominated novel tells the story of an unhappy young woman named Eileen, who lives in a squalid house in a small American town with her alcoholic father. She works at a boys’ correctional facility, where she is ostracised by her colleagues, and all in all life is pretty bleak.
Eileen’s outlook changes, however, when a beautiful, glamorous young woman named Rebecca joins the prison staff as the new director of education. Eileen is enamoured by her, and Rebecca initially reciprocates the interest, though it soon transpires Rebecca is trying to lure Eileen into a sordid crime. Not very festive at all.
As the film synopsis tells us: ‘Just when the possibility of a salvational friendship (or maybe more) takes hold and forms a singular glimmer in Eileen’s darkness, her newfound confidant entangles her in a shocking crime that alters everything.’
The script for Eileen was written by Moshfegh herself, alongside her husband, Luke Goebel, who is also a writer.
The titular character is played by Jojo Rabbit star Thomasin McKenzie, while Anne Hathaway stars as Rebecca. Shea Wigham (Perry Mason, The Quarry) plays Eileen’s troubled father, with other cast members including Owen Teague, Marin Ireland, Jefferson White and Tonye Patano.
McKenzie spoke about working with Hathaway in an interview with Vanity Fair, saying: ‘I think one of my favourite films of all time is The Princess Diaries, so meeting Anne, I was pretty starstruck, to be honest. That really worked in my favour. My personal perspective of Anne matched Eileen’s relationship with Rebecca… in a much less extreme and disturbed way.’
Hathaway also spoke about the challenges of playing Rebecca, in particular ‘bringing main character energy to a supporting part – and having that translate.’ She added: ‘I [remember] just throwing everything at it and it feeling very risky. I did hold my breath until I finally saw the film and saw that Will understood what I was doing – because it was very big. There was a much safer route to go with her.’
Is There A Trailer?
Yes, and you can watch it below.
Eileen was released in UK cinemas on 1 December 2023.
When & Where Is It Streaming?
Details are TBC, but we expect Eileen to stream on Prime Video sometime in the first half of 2024.