Elena is a middle-aged nurse married to a wealthy, dying man. He's estranged from his daughter. Before marrying her husband, Elena was dirt poor and the marriage is a definite station-in-life improvement. Her son and his family live in squalor. The son is continually unemployed, so she slips him money that he and his family regularly blow.
Elena thinks when the husband dies, her lot in life will improve. Then he reconnects with his daughter and decides to will her his fortune. That forces Elena to make some difficult decisions and gives you a tasty psychological thriller.
Set in modern Russia, Elena is directed by Russian Andrev Zvyagintsev. He did The Return, a film the Battelle Film Club showed a couple of series' ago. Zvyagintsev -- who is Elena's cowriter -- has an uncanny ability to create disgusting, unlikable but fascinating characters. He then puts them in impossibly complex situations where each decision is a bad one.
Your joy here is watching them squirm.
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-- Want to make Mr. Movie squirm? Shout out about these films and others at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.