We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
The most intimate moment in "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne" is one played between the heroine and a bottle of whiskey. She retreats to her lonely room in a sad Dublin boarding house, locks the door and runs to her closet and finds the bottle where it has been hidden away during all the recent days of happiness, waiting quietly until she would need it again. She pours the drink quickly, and then all is chaos once again in her life, as we sense it has been so many times before.
Maggie Smith brings precise body language to this scene. She does not play it eagerly, or desperately, but with well-rehearsed precision, showing us that for the alcoholic Miss Hearne, this is a ritual.
Smith's goal in the scene is to show us, without telling us, that this is not the first time Judith Hearne has admitted despair. And as the whiskey takes hold and the lonely spinster begins to sing to herself, her boozy joy is all the more depressing because it comes from defeat, not victory.
The realities of Judith's life are made clear a little at a time.