This is an innovative and involving English film which explores the dreamscapes of Anna (Charlotte Burke), a lonely eleven-year-old girl. Feeling abandoned by her father (Ben Cross), who is frequently away on long trips, and alienated from her mother (Glenne Headly), she creates an alternate world by drawing sketches of a house located on the wind-swept heath. Felled by a fever and ordered to recuperate in bed, Anna begins dreaming about her adventures in this “paper” house whose only inhabitant is another youngster, Mark (Elliott Spiers), a sad boy who has lost the use of his legs.
Paperhouse is directed by Bernard Rose from a screenplay by Matthew Jacobs based on Catherine Storr’s book Marianne Dreams. This mesmerizing movie has a visual fluidity which brings to mind Robert Altman’s Three Women and I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing. The storyline helps us to see the link between the dreaming and waking life and to appreciate the vividness of childhood fears, anxieties, and hopes.