New England Premiere

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2017 • UK • 82 min.

Director: Deborah Haywood
Screenwriter: Deborah Haywood
Cast: Lily Newmark, Joanna Scanlan, Loris Scarpa

March 22, 2018 @ 7:45 pm

Brattle Theatre

Equal parts gothic fairytale and coming of age drama, writer/director Deborah Haywood’s feature debut spins a pastel pink yarn about a princess and a hunchback and the heartrending cycle of intergenerational bullying that binds them.

Awkward teen Iona and her cat-obsessed mother Lyn arrive to a new town with the sunny disposition of starting afresh. Together, the pair put on a brave face and warm and fuzzy front, finding and creating comfort as one another’s sole best friend. However, grey skies loom ahead as the stiflingly small Anytown – and its small-minded denizens – quickly reveals itself to be no different than the place from which they fled.

At school, Iona finds herself in the crosshairs of the resident Heathers. The trio of mean girls immediately recognize naïveté and a desperate desire for acceptance in the doe-eyed newcomer’s countenance; fodder for the cruel machinations of alpha females upholding the social pecking order. Across town, Lyn attempts to make friends and is flatly rejected by a knitting circle of mean women who find her very existence repugnant. Daughter and mother find refuge in an elaborate fantasy world founded on denial and delusion, fueling a growing distance between them just when they need each other most.

Marrying fairytale aesthetics with British realism, writer/director Deborah Haywood combines the enchanting with the devastating in her deeply personal feature debut. With exquisite visuals complementing brilliant performances, Pin Cushion is at once whimsical and perilous. Haywood’s is a powerful new voice in cinema that reminds us of the simultaneous beauty and horror of being a human in this world.

– Nicole McControversy

Playing With:


Nicole Steeves & Struan Sutherland, Canada, 5 min.

The doggedness of a dog-coveting girl spurs her on to make fantasy a reality.