The Yellow Wallpaper: Review

The Yellow Wallpaper

Jane (Alexandra Loreth) and her husband John (Joe Mullins) are going away to a house where everything is peaceful and John thinks the change in location can help Jane’s condition. Jane suffers from something they used to call a ‘social disease’ and what with it being the 19th century, very little is known about mental health.

However, John is assured that in his position as a doctor he knows what’s best for his wife, so while he’s away at work he leaves her to wander around the house and garden. At first Jane seems to be at ease with the world and enjoys the tranquillity of it all. Unfortunately, after her frustration starts to gain momentum once again, she becomes transfixed, almost obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom.

John and the housemaid, Mary (Clara Harte) seem totally unaware of this new diversion in Jane’s life, but as the hold of the yellow wallpaper slowly takes over, Jane’s mind starts to slip away.

The Yellow Wallpaper is an adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic short story, directed and adapted for the screen by Kevin Pontuti. Considered to be a story way ahead of its time, The Yellow Wallpaper tells the story of a woman overwhelmed by mental health problems and the slow decline of her mind as those around her don’t understand.

Beautifully shot, Pontuti’s adaptation stays faithful to the original story and with its increasingly intrusive score and its claustrophobic framing, The Yellow Wallpaper helps the audience to feel what Jane is really feeling.

Alexandra Loreth gives a great performance of a woman who may very well be one of the best written women in American literature. Her changing moods throughout show a range which fully encapsulates the role and keeps the audience captivated by her.

For those who haven’t read or even heard of the original short story, then they may not fully understand the influence and the way that it resonates with people even today. So, perhaps a little more could have been done in order to show its audience how closely it resembles what many are going through today. However, hopefully this adaptation will encourage others to seek out Gilman’s short story and appreciate a well told story in an era which misunderstood the difficulties of mental health.  

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