Sunday’s Illness – Review

Genre Drama
Directed by Ramón Salazar
Starring Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, Greta Fernández
Released on 20 February 2018 (Berlin), 23 February 2018 (Spain)
Duration 113 minutes
Flixxpanda Rating 9/10
Channel Netflix

Sunday’s Illness is one of the best films on Netflix at the moment. It’s plot complemented by its ethereal imagery makes it a cinematic masterpiece.The film premiered at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival. While it’s premier was very under the radar, audiences found it prodigious enough to rave reviews about it. Sunday’s Illness came to Netflix a few months later and has since then received almost only positive reviews. Majority of the planet was awestruck and so was I.

Sunday’s Illness revolves around a very eerie and complex mother-daughter relationship. It is well known that parents separated from their children always provide a compelling and dramatic story line, but Sunday’s Illness takes that to a whole new level. 

Anabel (Susi Sánchez) lives a very posh and comfortable life. She’s married to a wealthy businessman and everything is seemingly perfect, too perfect some would say. She lives in a fabulous mansion with her daughter and her world is consumed by the daily imagery of the elite few witness in reality. It’s at another routine party that she locks gazes with a caterer across the room. Said caterer, although completely expressionless at first glance turns out to be Anabel’s daughter, Chiara (Bárbara Lennie). Anabel had abandoned Chiara at age eight from when she was in a previous marriage.

Chiara pleads with her mum to come spend ten days with her at a random, isolated cabin in the forest. She never reveals what’s actually going on until much later. There’s no reason as to why she wants only ten days, whether she wants some kind of reconciliation or revenge is never made clear and that adds to the uncanny feel of the movie.

As the mother and daughter begin to stay in the cabin, even though the cabin isn’t haunted, it might as well be, the way Chiara drifts along the rooms like a restless spirit. Even though the two go to a fair and are in general civil to one another (well, except when Chiara throws a teacup in her mum’s face) there is no establishment of the mother-daughter dynamic that we all expected. It feels like there’s something bubbling just under the surface, waiting for the right moment.

Sunday’s Illness is shot beautifully. Director Ramón Salazar along with cinematography by Ricardo De Garcia have captured the unearthly feel of the movie so perfectly, it’s unnerving. It feels like a psychotic thriller and Chiara’s character gives us chills we feel deep in our bones long after the film is over. She switches from hatred to compassion towards her mother so often that it gives us whiplash. Sunday’s Illness might as well be a horror movie, just without the ghosts appearing and the jump scares. It’s terrifying because of how close to home it hits and how it stems from a place of authentic fear.

Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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