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52 Films by Women: 'Cracks'

By Rebecca Pahle | 52 Films by Women | September 28, 2016 |

By Rebecca Pahle | 52 Films by Women | September 28, 2016 |

No, this is not another butt post. Sorry.

It is a post about an Eva Green movie. Yay!

You know that subset of movies that take place at a British boarding school, and it’s all men in fancy clothes and Posh High Drama and blatant homosexual undertones that sometimes become blatant homosexual overtones? And sometimes Baby Colin Firth is there? Another Country has nothing to do with this post, but I wanted to point out young Colin Firth to you because Jeeeeeesus:


Anyway. You take that movie. You add lesbians and remove all the men from the cast. (Seriously, there are two credited men here, and they are “Shopkeeper” and “Ferry Skipper.”) And you get Cracks, the debut (and, to date, sole) feature of Jordan Scott.

(In case you’re saying to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if the ‘Scott’ means she’s related to Ridley Scott, as opposed to ‘Scott’ being a very common last name?,” yes, Jordan Scott is Ridley’s daughter. She is also half sister to Morgan director Luke. If—and I say if, because I do not know these peoples’ lives—they both used mad nepotism to get their movies made, at least Jordan’s doesn’t suck.)

Based on a novel by Sheila Kohler, Cracks takes place in the 1930s a secluded girl’s boarding school, where the coolest, most sophisticated, most altogether Eva Green-iest member of the staff is diving instructor Miss G (Green). Miss G’s team worships the ground she walks on, none more than tinpot dictator/teacher’s pet Di (Juno Temple). Di’s position at the top of the pecking order comes under threat with the arrival of a new student, a Spanish aristocrat named Fiamma (María Valverde). Quiet and fearful in her new surroundings, Fiamma wants nothing to do with Di’s mean girl politics or Miss G, whose stories of globetrotting aren’t so impressive given that Fiamma, unlike the rest of the girls, actually has seen much of the world outside the boarding school’s walls. Miss G becomes obsessed with Fiamma, which furthers Di’s resentment—and raises questions about whether Miss G really is who she says she is.

Here’s your content warning [spoilers]: At one point, Fiamma gets drunk and passes out. Miss G takes her back to her room, undresses her, and kisses her. It’s implied that Miss G went further than that, with a horrified Fiamma later making reference to “what she did to me,” but nothing else is shown on-screen.

Eva Green tends to be the best part even of bad movies, and here, in a good movie, she’s great. Cracks provides a meta commentary, of sorts, of the Eva Green Type (TM): sophisticated, worldly, sexual, somewhat bohemian. Because Miss G swans around in fancy clothes saying shit like this:



But then the big reveal is that Miss G is a former student allowed to stay on-staff by the headmistress (Sinéad Cusack) due to her crippling agoraphobia; her “mighty adventuress” persona is an invention designed to deny, even to herself, the fact that she can’t go even go to the village corner store without having a panic attack.

Cracks’ theatrical release came and went without much fanfare back in 2001, and it didn’t get good reviews (only 43% approval on Rotten Tomatoes), though I’m at a loss to understand why. Maybe because it can get a bit hammy and over the top? But if I’m watching an Eva Green boarding school movie and it’s not over the top, wrap me in a silk robe and send me down a river to die Lady of Shalott-style, because what is the everloving point? Some dramatic shit goes down in Cracks, especially towards the end. A subtle movie this ain’t; I’d go so far as to call it “lush,” and I mean that in a good way. It’s like if The Virgin Suicides had a threesome with Merchant and Ivory. Give me a coming-of-age LBGT costume drama with fancy clothes and Eva Green and virtually no male characters, or give me death.

Cracks is on Hulu or rentable via iTunes for $3.99. It is also, incidentally, where this gif comes from.