‘His Dark Materials’ is a Worthy Series Adaptation of Philip Pullman's Trilogy

I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy when I was ten years old. My parents don’t write or speak English well, but they made sure that I could by bringing me to the public library whenever they had time off from work — which was very little. Pullman’s work, in this sense, made me feel the wonder of possibility in its purest form: Like Lyra Silvertongue (Dafne Keen), I had to navigate a world which didn’t make the slightest bit of sense. His books, however, taught me that if I just tried, maybe I could make it work. Above all, the trilogy has always been about the beauty of found families — in this day and age, our chosen alliances are more important than ever. Later on in the series, Roger Parslow (Lewin Lloyd) tells Lyra that she is an orphan too, and that perhaps all they have is each other. While the newly adapted television series of Pullman’s trilogy, co-produced by HBO and BBC, noticeably struggles with pacing and the glaring absence of key plot points, it does an excellent job at honing in on the complexity of familial relations, and how found families remain crucial to our survival in the age of political violence.

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Ghosts Aren’t the Only Things That Haunt Us in ‘The Little Stranger’

Imagine, if you will, driving down a quiet country road, surrounded by greenery. As you round a corner, there is something looming ahead: a large, old house in a state of disrepair. There is something fascinating about this crumbling estate – it was once something grand and beautiful, but now shabby. You’re enchanted, mesmerized, and want to walk through its threshold to see what lies behind its doors. This is the estate at the center of director Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger, a film that seems to defy a genre label, spanning thriller, drama, romance, and supernatural. But the marketing, as minimal as it has been, makes The Little Stranger seem purely like a horror movie. Horror fans, or people looking for a horror movie, will be disappointed. Instead of ghosts, they’ll get melancholy, loneliness, desperation, and the need to hold onto the past.

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Domhnall Gleeson as Dr. Faraday in The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger begins with Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) visiting the dilapidated Hundreds Hall to check on the Ayres family’s young maid, Betty (Liv Hill). After the visit, he becomes close with the family, particularly Caroline (Ruth Wilson), as he helps her injured war vet brother, Roderick (Will Poulter). As Faraday learns more about the family, seemingly supernatural events start taking place around the house, slowly tearing the family apart.

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