Release Date: January 1994
Director: Tim Fywell
Writer: Barbara Vine & Sandy Welch
Producer: Phillippa Giles
Executive Producer: Rosanna Roditi
Runtime: 2hrs 32mins
Largely set during World War II, the story is told by Faith Severn, who at the prompting of a true-crime writer recounts her memories of her aunt, the prim, fastidious, and snobbish Vera Hillyard. Vera’s life is initially centred on her beautiful younger sister, Eden, even to the exclusion of her own son, Francis, with whom she has a poor relationship. Later, Vera has a second son, Jamie, to whom she is intensely devoted, while Eden marries the scion of a wealthy family.
When Eden is unable to have children with her husband, she begins to demand custody of Jamie, who she claims is being poorly raised by Vera. To the bewilderment and shock of the rest of the family, the custody battle escalates to violent levels, leading to tragedy and a series of disturbing revelations.
Helena Bonham Carter…as Faith Severn
Celia Imrie…as Vera Hillyard
Sophie Ward…as Eden Severn
Robin Ellis…as John
Steven Mackintosh…as Francis
Jason Durr…as Jamie
Sarah Hadland…as Elsie