Can we ever truly recover from emotional and physical abuse?
That’s a key question for Rebecca Hall’s troubled, haunted Margaret in the full-throttle horror that is “Resurrection.”
The Margaret we first meet is a super-capable working woman, a single mother with a teenage daughter, whose life craters horribly with the reappearance of a man from her distant past.
From the moment she sees David Wolf (Tim Roth), Margaret loses self-control. Where Margaret goes and what happens is, to put it mildly, bizarrely bonkers.
“I felt that as outlandish as it is, this is a very specifically cinematic experience,” Hall, 40, offered in a Zoom interview. “It also felt a little bit mythical to me, on the level of ancient primal stories that have hugely outlandish turns in order to somehow express the sometimes extreme nature of human emotion.
“I just felt,” she continued, “this is exciting and can potentially put people into this place where they’re really going through something.
“They’re going on a smooth ride and they’re going to come out and some people are going to like it. Some people are not. But no one’s going to forget about it. And everyone’s going to talk.”
Margaret’s fierceness and volatility make her more than a bit scary and always surprising.
“I did think of her in terms of this ancient lioness character,” Hall said. “If you strip away everything else, there is this ultimate revenge from her, which is as old as storytelling. And there’s also this maternal lioness quality to her which is super interesting.
“Of course, we’re dealing with very real subjects in our culture — gaslighting, abuse.”
With Wolf 22 years earlier when Margaret was just 18, “She was in a cult of one. Certainly many people have been in an abusive relationship but what got under my skin was I felt that there was an exploration of something more universal, which has to do with having a child.
“When you have a child there’s all the wonderful stuff,” said this married mother of a 4-year-old, “but there’s also something else that’s born inside of a parent, which you didn’t have before the child came along. Which is a sort of existential terror. I’ve got to look after them! I have to keep them safe!
“Every minute of every day, there’s a little part of you as a mother that’s thinking, Are they okay? Are they going to stay okay?
“In a way this story takes our emotion and then pushes it to the most extreme version. I think that’s what’s interesting about it.”
“Resurrection” opens Friday.