"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it's OK to be a boy, but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you'd love to know what it's like, wouldn't you? What it feels like for a girl?"
The Cement Garden is based on the book of the same name by Ian McEwan. The film, directed by Andrew Birkin, focuses on the disintegration of a family after the sudden death of their father. Shortly after his death, their mother becomes seriously ill, eventually leading to her passing. The oldest children, Jack (Andrew Robertson) and Julie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) decide to hide the body so that they can have free run of the house, preventing them from being taken into care. After a time with no adult guidance the children's behaviour changes dramatically, including incest, cross dressing and withdrawal.
I really enjoyed the film. It was a slow and steady film that allows you to get to know the main characters well. The build up is great; it's intense and captivating. Even though Jack and Julie are siblings, you bizarrely want them to get together; it's like they were almost meant to be together.
The location is really fitting to the new found freedom of the children. The house is semi-isolated and the landscape gives a baron feel. The casting is very believable and they all play their roles very well considering the ages of the actors.
The film is really worth watching and I was captivated throughout.