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We Have Always Lived In The Castle

5.61 h 35 min201915
A twisted mystery based on the acclaimed novel by Shirley Jackson ('The Haunting of Hill House'). Merricat lives with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. The trio are survivors of an arsenic poisoning that killed everyone else in the family five years prior.
Stacie Passon
Taissa FarmingaAlexandra DaddarioCrispin Glover
None Available
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Supporting actors
Sebastian Stan
Robert MitasJared Goldman
Blue Finch Film Releasing
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesmokingviolence
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3.8 out of 5 stars

304 global ratings

  1. 44% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 19% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 17% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 12% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 9% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

GroovemonkeyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 January 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
True to the book - intimate portrait of the aftermath of a tragedy
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Sadly I think that only those who have read the book are likely to come out smiling this time. I have, and I did - just. Casting is overall solid - especially Taissa Farmiga as Merricat. However - when I read the book I felt that Charles needed to be someone who could outwardly appear nicer, and offer some possibility of redemption to the family so that Merricat's private insights into his underlying narcissism and greed were more dramatic. I had pictured someone like Chris Hemsworth in that role - and overall this is where I felt the movie stumbled. As played by Sebastian Stan, Charles Blackwood is clearly and obviously motivated by greed from the moment he appears - and the fact that Alexandra Daddario's Constance is not allowed by the screenplay to see it detracts tremendously from the dynamic in the book. We need to buy into her character's optimistic view of Charles, even if she's tightly bound by convention to follow a certain path. The film also suffers by being pulled along in the marketing wake of the recent Netflix Haunting of Hill House, implying more horror than the film could ever deliver. It's an intimate - and increasingly weird - portrait of a family living with the aftermath of a tragic poisoning that's led to the survivors living a very isolated life in a small and gossipy town. That's not a spoiler by the way. Approached in this way, there's a lot to enjoy.
11 people found this helpful
MookyzookReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Started well and went rapidly nowhere
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Had a great atmosphere but where was the mystery thriller that was promised? Loved Haunting of Hill House which kept your attention right through to the end, but this dragged on. It was like a joke with no punchline.
The characters needed fleshing out, they were interesting and played well but the storyline was very flat. Pretty much guessed the so called mystery and the town against the people in the big house at the top of the hill has been done to death in many other stories. Altogether a bit of a disappointment. Shirley Jackson has written some great horror mysteries but don't know if this was just a bad representation of the book or just not up to her usual standard.
It's worth watching for the acting and atmosphere but don't expect much satisfaction if you're expecting an outstanding horror mystery.
3 people found this helpful
Cinders54Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 July 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Good - but not good enough!
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This is an ok film. Super performances and beautifully shot. But if you adore Shirley Jackson's book, you will be disappointed in the movie. Dramatic license is taken with the plot, which destroys the nuances and subtlety that make Jackson's novel so brilliant and horrifying. Jackson leaves Merricat's motives disturbingly to our imagination, the movie provides a 'predictable' motive. Uncle Julian is one of the most darkly humorous characters in literature; in the movie he's dull. And the ending of the movie as regards Charles is totally unsatisfactory - and, again, predictable. The book is delicious - the movie, palatable.
2 people found this helpful
SeafirelivReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Was this a misandric movie?
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What the?

Two sisters and their uncle live togther in a big house. Their uncle's a bit crazy. The younger sister, Mary (that's the name I'm giving her), is weird and into spells. The older sister, Constance, is very traditional and has a constant happy demeanor, but she dearly wants a man to love her.

The sisters are very close. the younger sister, Mary, really doesn't like outsiders- at all. The village down the hill really doesn't like them for some weird reason of the past we never really learn about.

Then a cousin comes along and the older sister, Constance, likes him a lot. The younger sister, Mary, hates this with a passion.

So begin's Mary's crusade to try and get rid of this man and to later somehow destroy him. She tries spells, etc, which don't work. She is a constant prick in the side of the cousin to his puzzlement and consternation. He tries to accomodate her wierdness.

But then Mary really starts to get up his nostrils and try his patience. Mary, going crazy that he still isn't gone, finally starts a fire in the house, before annoying the man even more. He finally snaps and grabs Mary dragging her up the stairs to do what? I don't know.

The house catches fire, the Cousin runs away. People of the village all come to watch, but the Firemen put out the fire. The house is ruined, but they start fixing it.

The cousin comes backs, aggressively gets in and the little sister kills him, brutally. They bury him and forget about it and rebuild their home. They're happy.

What the heck?
I get the impression we're supposed to feel sorry for the little sister and hate the man. But the man did nothing wrong. Yea, he got mad towards the end because she was driving him nuts and he ran away when the fire happened (clearly in an attempt to write him as bad at the end), but he didn't deserve to be murdered at all. He was actually quite reasonable throughout the movie until the end.

The younger sister was hugely in the wrong and a total brat that eventually got her way with no consequences. She wanted her sister back and got her back by burning the house and murdering the cousin, but she's put across as somehow the good one?

Oh and the uncle died, just because.

Stupid misandric movie.
Hugo NebulaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A dark drama, and an understanding adaptation of Shirley Jackson's finest book.
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A thoughtful and careful adaptation of Shirley Jackson's excellent novel, which is a dark drama in a modern Gothic setting, concerned with the damages people inflict on each other, and on themselves. Farmiga and Glover are well cast, both providing excellent and effective performances, at once subtle and simmering with undercurrents; Daddario, however, is the stand-out here, with a constant and reactive portrayal of nervousness and well-meaning which provides the emotional linchpin around which the plot revolves.

The script manages Jackson's novel well, not only in the structure, but also every element of the subtler backstory is presented within the film, showing the screenwriter's implicit understanding of Jackson's story behind the story, and which gives the tale its meaning. Dialogue is in character - much of it straight from the book - often archly funny, and the round table, overlapping conversations (each character in a world of their own) are cleverly handled.

Production design and period detail is fine, and the photography often remarkable, creating a believable world both in the house and the village, and the slow creep of pace and menace pays off for the heartbreaking finale, which in the novel is quietly melancholic, but the film - for the benefit of modern movie audiences - makes the probably wise decision to tie up the plot in a more definite and dramatic fashion, albeit still in keeping with the tone and characters presented.

Anyone expecting horror or thrills will be disappointed: this isn't the horror story or dark thriller perhaps offered by the trailers, nor is it at all like the recent TV adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, which extrapolated Jackson's slight, and again subtle, work into a hugely expanded, if deeply characterised, series of unnerving scenes and jump scares. Shirley Jackson's work was never about that: she wrote about damaged souls, how the world treats them, and how they come to terms with themselves, and this film adaptation understands this explicitly.
5 people found this helpful
TJ RamsbottomReviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 May 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Potboiler or overcooked ham?
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I haven't read the book but going purely on what I saw in the film, it was a confusing mess. The hokum is layered on with a trowel so thick that you might as well have had Taissa Farmiga screaming 'LOOK AT ME, I'M A WEIRDO!' in the first scene. In better hands this could have been a decent suspense film but the acting is so overstated that EVERYONE is weird and you can't take it seriously, not even as a black comedy. Daddario looks nice in those period dresses, but that's about all I'd recommend about this overcooked ham.
One person found this helpful
loulouReviewed in the United Kingdom on 01 August 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
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lacklustre wooden performances, essentially lizzie borden told differently. I understand there is a book that this was adapted from, this is a not a film that inspired me to read it.
2 stars purely because the casting was good and they did they best they could with what was given to them but there were moments I was bored and the story so predictable that I could skip through a few minutes and not have missed anything worthwhile.
it's not as dark and mysterious as it seems to think it is. i'd say watch it only if you like the cast and want to see them in a role that is different for them, otherwise it's a waste of time.
angelReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 June 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
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One person found this helpful
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