BFF18 Pin Cushion

23rd October, 2018 (MA15+)
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  • Director Deborah Haywood
  • Cast Loris Scarpa, Joanna Scanlan, Lily Newmark
  • Duration 85 min
  • Rating MA15+
  • Genre Drama


For her first feature, Pin Cushion, the British director Deborah Haywood digs into her own teenage memories and unearths something eccentric, peculiar and utterly original.

At the centre is a relationship of cloying co-dependency as Iona (Lily Newmark, Solo: A Star Wars Story), a pale-faced teenager, and her hunchbacked mother, Lyn (Joanna Scanlan, Getting On, The Thick of It), contentedly share meals, pet names and even a bed. Recently arrived in a small Midlands town, the two are desperate to make friends. But Lyn, mentally slow and physically burdened, invites only the scorn of her neighbours, while Iona, geeky and ginger-haired, is a too-tempting target for the über-mean girls at her new high school. Brutally exploiting her social and sexual naïveté, they enact a campaign of escalating humiliations.

Holding tight to both as they struggle to fit into a community that patently doesn’t want them, director Deborah Haywood — who shot the film in her hometown and describes it as “emotionally biographical” — fashions a transcendent portrait of mental illness and bullying. Deliberately exaggerated, she shows how slights are magnified when you’re young or otherwise vulnerable.


NOMINATED: Most Promising Newcomer, Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut, British Independent Film Awards 2017
NOMINATED: Best Actress, Evening Standard British Film Awards 2018
NOMINATED: Audience Award, Glasgow Film Festival 2018
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week 2017 – Opening Night Gala 2017
OFFICIAL SELECTION: International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018


  • “Both a funny, entertaining, complex portrayal of female relationships…and a frightening reminder of how bullying can seep from the playground into adulthood.” – Empire

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