The winter guest marks the debut of Alan Rickman as director.
Emma and her mother, Phyllida Law, star as the recently widowed Frances, a photographer, and her prickly mother, Elspeth, in the mute and chilly Scottish landscape.
The story focuses on the conflictual mother-daughter relationship.
The film opens with an aged woman walking on the way to her daughter’s house; Frances has lost her husband and she has retreated into silence and anger. She refuses to leave the house and her 16-year-old son Alex takes care of both of them.
Her mother’s coming creates an overwhelming situation because Elspeth wants to goad her but Frances doesn’t stand her mother’s complaints and rebukes.
They have a prickly relationship but in the end affection will take over misunderstandings.
The silent and snowy setting highlights the bitter dialogues between mother and daughter but also some moments of tenderness.
Emma and her mother are delightful together but being mother and daughter in real life has definitely helped them. I’d love to see them play together again.