The initial premise of The Door – a Hungarian art-house movie about the relationship between two women in 1960's Budapest – wasn't initially appealing but from that outline, Istvan Szabo has carved a subtle, engaging and thought-provoking tale.
Based on a novel by a celebrated Hungarian writer, the late (unrelated) Magda Szabo, director Szabo and director of photography Elemer Ragalyi managed to persuade Helen Mirren to play the female lead, troubled housekeeper Emerenc.
The deeply suspicious Emerenc is hired by rising writer Magda (Martina Gedeck) and slowly begins to let Magda into her life and explain her personal history. The door is the well-guarded one to Emerenc's home, which becomes a final symbolic barrier to her complete trust in Magda.
The contrast between the highly principled, but prickly Emerenc, and the well-intentioned, but flawed Magda, is the current driving the movie, and with the cameras focused on them almost throughout, the two leads produce fine performances that ensures the pace steadily picks up to the emotional denouement.
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