voices from the past (Director's Meeting) Jake Mahaffy has a good story, but ends up getting lost in the amount of elements it tries to address at the same time. The excellent performances of Julia Ormond (Ivy) and Emma Draper (Ellie) can sustain the film, but it's not enough.
Ellie returns to the house she lived in during her childhood, having to deal with the presence unwanted of the mother and dealing with her own pregnancy. As she tries to adapt to the situation and finish the book she is writing, memories of the past come back to haunt her and collect a debt that was forgotten. In a psychological terror slow burn, mixed with ghosts and dark magic, the story unfolds inside the family home amid memories that are revealed and macabre secrets discovered.
The relationship between mother and daughter is not the best, even trying to impose herself Ellie is trapped by the wills and misdemeanors of the mother, without respecting the wishes of anyone else, being authoritarian and intransigent with others. During this time together, Elie's childhood memories are revealed in flashbacks and scenes that show successions of alchemy images or embryo scenes that are clues to the mysteries of the family's past, but which generally become repetitive and do not add to the plot.
The theme psychological would be enough to make voices from the past in an exceptional film, being able to draw parallels between the guilt that Ellie feels with the death of her adopted sister, caused by an accident while the two were fighting, but the excess of elements causes only confusion and leaves too many loose ends. While trying to address the topic of black magic with the creation of homunculi, the ghostly chase is left with a shallow explanation, forgetting scenes that could be interesting to explore.
One of the main conflicts revolves around a valuable piece of broken crystal and the missing piece to complete it. Along these lines we have the lack of the piece and what happened to it, because the vase is important to the story of Ellie and Cara and scenes in which the object serves as a receptacle for internal organs during the couple's black magic sessions. Even with all these links, these lines are unresolved, the vase piece is used against Ivy and helps in Ellie's release, but why was this important object on display in the family fireplace? Was it just used to hold the organs or did it have a function during dark magic? Is this vase connected with Ivy's existence? There are many questions that only confuse and do not help to support the logical line of the script.
With a reduced cast, the performances of Julia Ormond and Emma Draper are spectacular, however, they are not enough to make the holes in the script go unnoticed. Julia manages to convey at the same time the sweetness and rigidity that Ivy has with her daughter, managing to move between different tonalities with an ease that makes the character more repulsive for what she did with Ellie's childhood, all the manipulation of her memories and the guilt that makes the daughter carry it. Emma is not far behind, maintaining an accurate performance and without exaggeration, a common mistake in films of this genre.
In a good example that less is more, voices from the past it had everything to be a remarkable film, with a good narrative, but it gets lost wanting to add many references without knowing how to cover them all in a satisfactory way.
voices from the past arrives on Claro Now, Vivo Play, iTunes/Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube Filmes digital platforms, for purchase and rent from January 21th through the Synapse Distribution.