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Rooney Mara injects raw intensity into the abused heroine of Una

Underage sex that continues to torment

Una (M18: sexual scenes)

Starring Rooney Mara, Ben Mendelsohn Directed by Benedict Andrews

A 27-year-old tracks down the man with whom she had an affair when she was 13 and he was her father’s friend cum neighbour. Una is their confrontation at his industrial warehouse workplace in suburban middle England.

Rooney Mara inhabits the title role opposite Ben Mendelsohn in this translation of Scottish playwright David Harrower’s 2005 Olivier Award-winning one-room two-hander Blackbird, which the Australian stage director Benedict Andrews, making his film debut, has opened up with flashbacks to the three-month liaison: Ruby Stokes plays Una as a precocious teen.

The psychological drama is a discomfiting and morally queasy watch. A horribly damaged Una remains trapped by the past and wants not closure but to resume their intimacy in the belief they were in love; the paedophile, having done his time in prison, has changed his name and started a new life now threatened by Una’s reappearance.

The performances by Mara and Mendelsohn are brave and raw in the duo’s hothouse interplay. 3.5/5

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