Quite unappealing in every sense, Elyse represents the kind of film you would take one look at in the bargain section of a supermarket and immediately throw back in after you remember you have a pizza to collect. Other than supporting the directorial debut of his wife Stella Hopkins, it’s unclear what else drew Anthony Hopkins to this turgid mess.
The film begins in black and white as Elyse (Lisa Pepper) monologues us through what looks like a perfect life. A lawyer husband, played stiffly by Aaron Tucker, a child and a wonderful home – Elyse appears to have it all. Or does she? Shot moodily, but unconvincingly, Elyse has tonnes of emotional baggage. She hates her mother (Fran Tucker), and harbours jealousy toward her young housekeeper Carmen (Tara Arroyave), whom she suspects of having an affair with her husband. All is not as it seems for Elyse, and she seeks professional help from Dr. Lewis (Anthony Hopkins), and the audience must decide what is in her head and what is not.
Elyse has the unfortunate trait of being a film so utterly dreadful that anyone who watches it will be begging the question, why? Stella Hopkins is devoutly supported by her husband here, who gives an utterly professional performance, but there is nothing here that makes the film click or persuade you that Stella may be a talent to keep an eye on. The film is devoid of emotion, and has nothing to pull a viewer in. The score barely registers, and the cinematography is sadly lacking – the highs and lows of Los Angeles are criminally wasted here. Not only that, but the acting is so below par it gives the feel a of a bad student film that could be dissected in film schools as to how to not make a film. The story weaves between black and white – used as some hammer driven metaphor between what is real and what is not in Elyse’s life, but as with the rest of the film it is poorly utilised.
In many ways, it pains me to write this review, as I hate shitting on a piece of work that people have worked hard on. But I must also be clear on just how awful Elyse is. I have tried to focus on a good part, any part, that wasn’t truly cringe inducing and apart from the performance of Anthony Hopkins – there is sadly nothing to recommend here.
Elyse is available now on all digital platforms.