Eileen Parent Guide
Producing more irritation than suspense, this psychological thriller falls flat.
Parent Movie Review
Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) is trapped in a miserable life. At home, she is constantly belittled by her widowed father (Shea Whigham), an ex-police chief who stews in bitterness and booze after being forced to retire. Employed as a secretary at the local prison, she spends her time in self-conscious silence or indulging sexual fantasies. Then a new psychologist arrives on staff, and Eileen discovers an unexpected world of emotions.
Dr. Rebecca St. John (Anne Hathaway) drives into Eileen’s world at the wheel of a red sports car. With her Harvard degree, Marilyn Monroe-style hair, chic wardrobe, and effortless confidence, Rebecca epitomizes glamor to dowdy, rebellious Eileen. As the two women get acquainted, Eileen develops a girl crush on her new friend, and Rebecca is all predatory sympathy. It will come as a surprise to no one that Rebecca’s friendship is risky– but the dark path the women travel is not what Eileen expects…
Just as cheap dresses ordered online don’t measure up to the couture dresses they copy, Eileen pales in comparison to the Hitchcock thrillers it tries to imitate. While the Master of Suspense released films with tight plots, elegant cinematography, and carefully calibrated soundtracks, Eileen gives us an implausible plot, clumsy psychological motivations, an unsatisfying ending, and an annoying soundtrack that loudly trumpets serious moments. The 1960s wardrobes are great, but the characters wearing them are unpleasant, so there’s not a lot of fun to be had.
What this movie offers in abundance is sex. Not nudity, but sex, particularly sexual tension and fantasies. The movie opens with a voyeuristic moment where Eileen is watching a couple make out in a car – her reaction is to dump snow in her underwear. At work, she masturbates in a waiting room while having sexual fantasies about a prison guard. Characters discuss masturbation, incest, and sexually transmitted infections, and a potential lesbian relationship with an unhealthy power dynamic is part of the plot. Even if you see yourself as an ally for same sex relationships, this isn’t a movie that you will enjoy.
Eileen also features some chilling violence. Bloody crime scene photos are visible, suicide is discussed, and a person is tied up, force-fed drugs, and shot. And if that’s not enough, a character also daydreams about shooting people.
You might expect all the negative content to provide some tension in the film but it gets rather dull after a while. Perhaps director William Oldroyd should have learned from Alfred Hitchcock, who said, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” What this movie lacks is suspense: apathy and tedium don’t create tension or hold an audience’s attention. If you want thrills, save your money on movie tickets and stream one of the classics.
Directed by William Oldroyd. Starring Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway, Sam Nivola. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release December 1, 2023. Updated December 7, 2023
Watch the trailer for Eileen
Rating & Content Info
Why is Eileen rated R? Eileen is rated R by the MPAA for violent content, sexual content and language.
Violence: A drunk man waves a gun around on the street. There’s a fight on stage and in the audience during a prison nativity pageant. A veteran remembers holding a dead man. There’s mention of someone killing his father and photos of the crime scene are shown. A man talks about his daughter potentially committing suicide. A woman punches a man for making an aggressive pass at her. A police officer mentions a man sitting by a window and pointing guns at children. A woman repeatedly fantasizes about shooting herself of others. A person is tied up in their own basement. A character shoots a woman in the chest.
Sexual Content: A woman watches as a man and woman kiss in the back seat of a car. She then puts snow in her pants and sighs. There’s a slighting reference to “that time of the month”. A woman fantasizes a sexual encounter while masturbating in a public place. Two women dance and one later kisses the other. There’s a discussion of masturbation and sexually transmitted infections. There’s a coded discussion of incestuous abuse.
Profanity: A lot of profanity is delivered in hushed tones, so there could possibly be more curse words than we counted. Our best tally is fourteen sexual expletives, five terms of deity, three scatological curses, four minor profanities, and an anatomical term. A crude term for women is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults smoke cigarettes. An impaired person waves a gun around on the street. Adults drink alcohol and a main character drinks to the point of vomiting. A person shoves drugs into an unwilling woman’s mouth in an effort to sedate her.
Page last updated December 7, 2023
Eileen Parents' GuideWhy do you think Rebecca befriends Eileen? Why does she later seek her help? Why do you think Eileen goes along with the request? How does Eileen’s relationship with her father play into her actions?
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If you’re looking for psychological thrillers, you can always go back to the classics, especially Hitchcock’s movies. We suggest Dial M for Murder, Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho, or North by Northwest.