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Stephanie Daley
Stephanie Daley
Actors: Amber Tamblyn, Tilda Swinton, Timothy Hutton
Director: Hilary Brougher
Genres: Drama
R     2007     1hr 32min

When 16 year-old Stephanie Daley (Amber Tamblyn) faces murder charges in connection with the death of her baby, pregnant forensic-psychologist Lydie Crane (Tilda Swinton) is tapped to unravel the truth. The teen claims to ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Amber Tamblyn, Tilda Swinton, Timothy Hutton
Director: Hilary Brougher
Creators: David Morrison, David Mansfield, Keith Reamer
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance
Studio: Liberation Ent
Format: DVD - Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/04/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Crystallized Brilliance
RHC | 09/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Captivating and hypnotic portrayals by Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn

Magnetic acting by Timothy Hutton, Denis O'Hare, and Melissa Leo, who receive excrutiatingly minimal screen time portraying crucial characters

Spellbinding cinematography and imagery and allusions

Painstakingly realistic situations, events, conversations, human interactions

A film about how people interact and communicate with each other in difficult situations that will change their lives missed opportunities of communication permanently transform the lives of treasured events in women's lives - loss of virginity and pregnancy - are seemingly always subverted and mistreated and degraded by lack of clear communication..."
A riveting, well-acted human drama
z hayes | TX | 09/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a true gem of a movie that has tremendous depth, exploring sensitive topics like teen sex, teen pregnancy,its repercussions and fears that accompany women through marriage & motherhood. The subject matter is controversial but in the hands of capable writer-director Hilary Brougher, the story is told with clarity, poignancy and sensitivity.

The story centers around Stephanie Daley, a 16 year old teenager who is accused of murdering her newborn infant daughter whilst on a school ski trip. The role is played to perfection by Amber Tamblyn, and her portrayal of a shy adolescent trying to find a social niche at school is at times hard to watch, though played with a high level of credibility. The flashbacks of Stephanie recalling the past, especially the public restroom scene of the birth itself is something one will not soon forget, and Amber Tamblyn portrays the teen's pain, horror and shame to chilling effect.

The other main role, that of forensic psychologist Lydia Crane is played by Tilda Swinton. Lydia herself is five months pregnant, and beset with doubts about her impending motherhood [having suffered a stillbirth a year ago] and also the strains on her emotionally fragile marriage [husband is played by Timothy Hutton]. Lydia's job is to evaluate Stephanie's mental capacity before a competency hearing. Swinton is well-cast as the emotionally fragile Crane, but ultimately her problems do not seem to be as serious as the ones facing young Stephanie. It is indeed to Tamblyn's credit that she makes the viewer care so much more about Stephanie and wanting to see how she comes out of the crisis. Throughout Stephanie's sessions with Crane, and especially in the flashbacks, one feels a strong sense of sympathy for the fragile teen who seems lost and frightened, and increasingly isolated.

All in all, Stephanie Daley is a compelling human drama that portrays a sensitive topic with unflinching and painful honesty. Highly recommended!"
Intriguing human drama
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 02/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)


In "Stephanie Daley," Tilda Swinton stars as Lydie Crane, a forensic psychologist in her final months of pregnancy. Despite her condition and the fact that she had a miscarriage less than a year earlier, Lydie agrees to take on the case of a teenaged girl named Stephanie Daley (Amber Tamblyn) who is accused of killing her newborn at childbirth.

Written and directed by Hilary Brougher, "Stephanie Daley" is a human drama wrapped inside a legal whodunit (it's sort of like "Agnes Of God" minus the nuns' habits and beatific visions). Set in scenic Upstate New York, the movie explores the anxieties and fears that many women face before, during and after pregnancy. Lydie's situation very much parallels Stephanie's at times, resulting in a strange symbiotic relationship between the two women. Those parallels aren't always as clearly drawn as they might be, but the positive result is that the story is made less obvious and more intriguing by the ambiguity.

"Stephanie Daley" is a low-keyed, thoughtful work that doesn't go in for flashy melodrama or thematic overstatement. It allows its narrative to unfold slowly, finding much of its drama in the minutiae of everyday life in the small town in which it is set.

The movie is blessed with sensitive, subtle work from not only Swinton and Tamblyn but a large cast of secondary performers, including Timothy Hutton, Kel O'Neill, Denis O'Hare, and others. The relationships in the movie are intricate and complex, and the plot doesn't seek out a preset path or formula to follow. It's not a movie designed to appeal to mainstream audiences much, but for those who prefer their films to wander a bit off the well-beaten path, "Stephanie Daley" offers substantial rewards."
Confusing and disempowering message
Karen Franklin | El Cerrito, CA, USA | 11/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Superb acting and unusually realistic portrayals of high school life don't save this movie from its slow pace, artificially contrived premise, and unresolved ambiguities that leave the viewer dangling.

Tilda Swanton plays Lydie Crane, a pregnant forensic psychologist who is still reeling from a stillborn birth just months earlier. Amber Tamblyn, the star of TV's quirky "Joan of Arcadia," plays Stephanie Daley, a confused Christian girl who has somehow lost an accidental pregnancy. Did she murder the premature fetus, or was it born dead? The prosecutor hires Crane to find out.

As a forensic psychologist, I was looking forward to seeing this movie. Instead, I found it hopelessly confused and confusing. The distinctions between the legal concepts of competency (the current ability to comphrehend one's situation and stand trial) and sanity (a past mental state pertaining to the time of an offense) are muddied. Far more troublingly, filmmaker Hilary Braugher confuses moral and legal guilt. One is not legally guilty of killing a baby for merely wishing it dead! And most troubling of all, Crane foists her own ambivalent psychological state onto this confused teenage girl, essentially using her empathetic interviewing skills to collude in the girl's exploitation. In real life (which I realize doesn't have much connection to the movies) Crane's violations of her professional role boundaries would be unethical; Crane probably should have declined a case with so many troubling parallels to her own circumstances.

The movie tackles complex issues about religion, fate versus choice, and women's fear of giving birth. And it has a superficial allure of feminism in its focus on the female experience. But in the end, its message is far from empowering. Should a teen girl really [SPOILER ALERT - DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE AND WANT TO MAINTAIN THE SUSPENSE] go to prison for five years for mere bad thoughts? I breathed a sigh of relief that there aren't too many real-life Lydie Cranes running around to assist such judicial railroads. Also, that I'd seen my last dead deer for awhile.