“We all have to do terrible things, Felicia.”
Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) is a gently spoken young Irish girl who travels to England to find her lover, Johnny (Peter McDonald). She’s pregnant, desperate and under the illusion that everything will be all right if she can just find him. Unfortunately, the elusive Johnny hasn’t been honest with Felicia, and this hampers her search. While Felicia’s Journey to England to seek her lost lover is literal, she also has a figurative journey into the realm of experience and evil when she crosses paths with a serial killer.
Mr. Hilditch (Bob Hoskins) is the middle-aged, cuddly catering manager of a large factory. His female employees adore him, and they hang on every word as he passes judgment on a jam pudding. His calm, controlled and meticulous attention to detail combined with his obvious love for food make him a fussy, but strangely admirable character. Hilditch’s sprawling country home is a shrine to his dead mother, a famous television chef. His cellar is loaded with dozens of boxes of brand-new kitchen appliances, and he spends his lonely evenings cooking gourmet feasts. He eats in solitary fashion as he watches old tapes of his mother’s television programme through opera glasses.
Flashbacks of Hilditch’s hideous childhood alternate with flashbacks of Felicia’s memories of her love affair. While Felicia questions her past and wonders if Johnny failed her, Hilditch’s memories are unwelcome, and they float to the surface of the present at the most inopportune times. Hilditch is also troubled with memories of young girls he’s known in his past, and then he bumps into Felicia …
Felicia’s Journey is a beautiful, lyrical film. As a long-time fan of the William Trevor novel, I was delighted with Atom Egoyan’s film version. Trevor, a seasoned writer, explores evil in the most unique ways, and with Egoyan’s direction, Trevor’s novel receives the treatment it deserves. Egoyan’s additions to the film blend in perfectly with the novel–Egoyan’s emphasis on the use of video serves only to enhance the story. Egoyan deftly blends three stories here–Felicia and Johnny, Hilditch and his mother, and Hilditch’s relationship with Felicia. Bob Hoskins delivers an incredible performance as a serial killer who appears unthreatening, but who methodically stalks his victims after luring them in to his life. Dreams and memories mesh beautifully in this film. Felicia sleeps and dreams of a future that will never be, and Hilditch’s nightmarish memories take the form of replaying videotapes in his head. Felicia’s Journey and The Sweet Hereafter are Egoyan’s more accessible films, and they are both masterpieces of filmmaking.