The Eternal Daughter: Joanna Hogg’s vaporous new film lacks the punch of The Souvenir but casts its own spooky spell

The Eternal Daughter follows film-maker Julie as she arrives at a remote and creaky hotel with Rosalind

The Eternal Daughter
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Director: Joanna Hogg
Cert: 12A
Genre: Gothic
Starring: Tilda Swinton, August Joshi, Carly-Sophia Davis, Joseph Mydell, Crispin Buxton
Running Time: 1 hr 36 mins

Joanna Hogg’s intriguing autobiographical journey continues with this slight and spooky tale featuring Tilda Swinton in dual roles.

The Eternal Daughter follows film-maker Julie (Tilda Swinton) – a surrogate for Hogg and a character previously played by Honor Swinton Byrne, Swinton’s daughter, in the Souvenir sequence – as she arrives at a remote and creaky hotel with Rosalind (also played by Swinton) and the family dog, Louis (Swinton’s dog Louis).

The foggy location is carefully considered. The hotel, once the mansion home to Rosalind’s aunt, was a country refuge for Rosalind as a child during the war. Julie, who is crafting a project around her mother, hopes the visit will trigger memories, but the expected Proustian rush doesn’t seem to happen. Wandering around the apparently guest-free hotel, Julie is troubled by noises, writer’s block and restlessness.

Sadly, the film’s big reveal is signposted early and often by the cinematographer Ed Rutherford’s careful framing, and the spectral goings-on can feel insubstantial. The pervading sorrow cannot compete with the emotional vigour of The Souvenir or with the impressive formal games of The Souvenir Part 2.


The Eternal Daughter remains a dazzling double-header for Swinton, who, against all odds, disappears into both roles.

The gifted Hogg has a knack for conjuring impactful scenes out of nothing: when Louis the dog goes missing, it feels genuinely apocalyptic. Expertly curated details – wrapping a box of chocolates, limited menu options – add weight to the vaporous narrative. The few exchanges between Julie, the kindly widowed groundskeeper (Joseph Mydell) and the passive-aggressive receptionist (Carly-Sophia Davies) are as memorable as they are keenly observed.

The Eternal Daughter is in cinemas from Friday, November 24th

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic