A Judgment in Stone (1986) Poster

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Pretty strange movie....
lthseldy114 June 2005
This movie begins where a lady living in England with her father is tormented by the memories of her childhood as an illiterate struggling to read. Her father teases her and nags her about going to school and learning how to read so that she can get a job. The lady, Eunice ends up going to America instead and becomes a housekeeper for a wealthy doctor and his family. Eunice learns how to manipulate people into getting what she wants because she cannot read and becomes a living nightmare for the family. She soon befriends a local church going lady and finds comfort in meeting someone just as crazy and insane as she is. The two become like a Bonny and Clyde team and take on the doctor and his family for revenge. I liked this movie, but it was not a movie that I would remember or even rent again. But it is worth a watch but only if there are no other horror movies your interested in on the shelf.
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UGH! Very Creepy!
Ddey6524 April 1999
Rita Tushingham stars as a dyslexic British maid, and formerly abused child who's a little too sensitive about not being able to read. This is NOT a common slasher film, by any long shot, as these types of films were in the 1970's and '80's. After seeing what she does in the kitchen, I've barely been able to hold a knife, or even think about similar scenes from horror films for months. As of this writing, I can't get that scene, or an equally gruesome one from "Parents," out of my mind...and neither will you. And worse, you may even sympathize with her!
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How the judgment is made
trashgang18 December 2008
A bit of a weird one this flick, a bit hard to find too, because it's a Ruth Rendall mystery. But this tale is filmed in a creepy way, it isn't your average thriller or frightening horror flick, it just get's you by the throat. First we noticed a girl with dyslexia being thrown away by society and her father. Sure, this flick has a message but you get it afterwards when the movie is over. When you're not "normal" and doesn't walk the line you will be torn apart. Nice to see too that they dare to speak about a new family were brother and sister, only by the law but have different mothers, fall in love. I liked this one a lot even that there isn't almost no blood. It's the atmosphere, you even start to get some feelings for the dislexia girl, it could happen in real life. If you ever see this flick in your local store, don't hesitate. And the good old cockney accent really did it for me.
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There is no fear greater than illiteracy.
ThrownMuse8 March 2007
Rita Tushingham plays a British woman who murders her father and has an even worse secret: she's illiterate! Oh no! What to do? She moves to America to become a housekeeper for a (rather dysfunctional?!) wealthy family. All is fine and dandy until she flubs up on watering the patriarch's beloved plants because she can't read the instructions he left for her while they were on vacay. This is mostly dull, but has nice touches like incestuous step-sibs, the housekeeper's hilarious whore-turned-religious-freak gal-pal, and a finale that's to die for. Tushingham is excellent as always and revels in the mousiness of her character.
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She cooks, she cleans, she kills ... but she doesn't read.
brendanrau21 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's unfortunate that this adaptation of Ruth Rendell's excellent novella "A Judgement in Stone" has dispensed with Giles Mont and replaced him with the comparatively weakly drawn Bobby Coverdale. Giles, the possibly autistic son of Jacqueline Coverdale, is an exquisite foil to Eunice Parchman; both Giles and Eunice isolate themselves from society, though Giles does so by obsessive reading, and Eunice does so by obsessively avoiding the printed word. Giles, through an indefatigable search for his spiritual leanings, also works as a foil to Joan Smith, whose shallow but militant religious fanaticism drives her to conspire in the murder of the Coverdales.

Rita Tushingham is excellent as Eunice Parchman, but she alone can't make up for what the screenplay lacks. What a shame.
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The Housekeeper aka A Judgement in Stone (1986)
chinchillaka20 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Housekeeper (1986) is an adaptation of murder/mystery writer, Ruth Rendel's A Judgement in Stone. The film adaptation revolves around a British Housekeeper (Rita Tushingham) who hops the pond to escape her troubled, disadvantaged life to look after a wealthy US family who want to assume the clichéd image of having a British Housekeeper. She desperately hides her illiteracy, ashamed of not being able to read and emphatically fears being belittled by the stark higher class division. She is befriended by another outsider, a religious fanatic and reformed lady of the night to find a kindred spirit and an unlikely friendship forms. The housekeeper's lack of social interaction and illiteracy start to encroach on propriety and the family start to view her as a burden. When her inability to read is discovered, she feels exposed and reacts badly leading to her dismissal. Feeling hard done by and crushed by her worst fears coming true she seeks solace in her friend who offers a unique solution....... This US film is a far cry from the book coming across more like a B movie targeting the teen market rather than the well written story it is. There's not enough mystery for the ending to be shocking, like in the slow reveal of the book. However, as much as it could have been improved, I still enjoyed this film and it's plot turns. Not for everyone but not bad.
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Lacklustre Adaptation
anxietyresister3 June 2006
Based on a Ruth Rendell novel, this is the tale of a young English girl called Eunice who goes to America to be the maid of a rich family. On the surface she seems to be the perfect worker and an excellent cook, but underneath festers years of resentment at being mocked because she can't read. She also has strange visions with lots of blood, and has a surprisingly quick temper.. a fact that her father has already found out to his cost. Her only friend after relocating to the States is a religious nut who used to be a prostitute, and thanks to her influence, Eunice is slowly pushed over the edge..

This is a rather dull psychological thriller which finally comes to life ten minutes before the end. Of course, by then it's too little too late. Rita Tushingham does a marvellous job in making Eunice a believable character with her solitary ways and slow decline into insanity. However, the screenplay doesn't give her enough to do other than hide in cupboards and peek round doors while listening to secret conversations. There is also a tedious half brother/sister relationship that could have easily been left on the cutting room floor, and a cute dog that always turns up where it's least wanted. This sort of thing was done better in the 90's on ITV when Rendell's books were divided into 120 minute episodes. Here it looks like they've had a bigger budget, but to the script and film's detriment. I give it a 3/10
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