Cecelia drugs her controlling live-in boyfriend Adrien and sneaks out of the high-tech house they share in the middle of the night. Adrien wakes and catches up to her, but her sister drives her away just in time. Later, she’s hiding out at the house of a friend of her sister’s.
Why Cecilia might be hard to identify with: She has no dialogue for the first 10 minutes, so we don’t have much chance to get to know her personality until we’ve been with her for some time. Even when she’s free, she’s not bursting with personality. Like many victims of abuse, she has little sense of self left, and must rediscover it over the course of the film.
- The pill bottle she uses to drug him is a sort of talisman, but then she drops it in the escape, leaving a crucial part of herself behind.
- The bizarre house, including a mad science lab, feels oddly specific to this situation, not generic.
- But I’m not sure how much we’d believe in her if Elizabeth Moss wasn’t playing the part. Her performance feels very grounded and real. She’s done more work than is on the page.
- We’re terrified for her when, after sneaking away silently for six minutes she accidentally kicks the metal dog bowl down the hall with a deafening clang.
- We’re not sure if she’s justified in her fear until he catches up to her and smashes open her car window. Now we share her terror.
- She’s still terrified when she’s supposedly free two weeks later, afraid that if her sister visits her, Adrien will follow her there. She can’t check the mail without running back inside in fear.
- When her sister visits to tell her that Adrien is dead, she finally gives us some harrowing details of his controlling behavior.
- She’s very clever in the sequence of steps she takes to get away, from drugging him, to turning off the alarm system, to shifting a camera and using the surveillance system to monitor him.
- The dog wants her to take him with her, and she agrees to pull his electronic collar off, though it sets off a car alarm, finally waking Adrien.
- Once she’s supposedly free, she’s still googling ways to protect herself, so she uses nail polish to cover up her webcam.