Toni Collette

Toni Collette: Hereditary shows horrors of motherhood

by John Sheridan

25th May 2018

The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.
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Toni Collette: Hereditary shows horrors of motherhood


Toni Collette’s new horror movie ‘Hereditary’ aims to challenge the "idealised" concept of motherhood.

In the upcoming supernatural fight-fest, Toni plays acclaimed miniaturist Annie Graham who is trying to deal with the grief of her own mother’s death whilst also dealing with the problems of her own family, husband Peter Graham (Gabriel Byrne) and their two children.

Annie’s estranged mother had been living with the Grahams before she died and the discovery of some cryptic papers in her belongings which uncover terrifying secrets about the family’s ancestry leading to terrifying consequences.

As Annie tries to deal with the uncovered secrets and evil presence which has entered the home, she cracks under the pressure of raising her schoolgirl daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) and pot-head teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff) and Toni, 45, says the plot dispels the perfect perception of parenthood which is perpetuated.

Speaking to the Daily Mail newspaper, Toni said: "It starts out as this beautiful story about these people trying to navigate one of the most painful experiences you go through as humans. Then you’re taken on a completely different journey."

Referring to a particular scene at the dinner table focusing on Annie and Peter, she added: "

"Aha, the dinner table scene. It’s almost like a dam has built up, and she’s sitting with all of this pain, and eventually explodes – and her son gets it! Being a mother is so idealised. This whole notion of motherly love – the rosy experience that it should be – is so contrary to the reality. I know this is an extreme situation, and this woman is out of control and very vulnerable. She has so much resentment and so much rage. And this poor boy gets all of it."

Mother-of-two Toni admits the day she had to shoot that sequence for director Ari Aster took a big emotional toll on her.

To rid herself of the negative feelings, the Australian actress – who raises daughter Sage, 10, and son Arlo, seven, with her musician husband Dave Galafassi – hit the gym to get her mood back on track.

She explained: "It’s a horrible scene but I really love what Annie looks like as a mother who has lost it completely. I really needed to go off to the gym and just run on a machine. I really needed to shift the energy. I didn’t want it hanging over me.

"But even though it’s scary, there’s something beautiful and honest about it."

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