Pin Cushion

Pin Cushion, writer-director Deborah Haywood’s debut feature film, joins the ranks of Lady Macbeth, God’s Own Country and The Levelling as an example of the quality of excellence being produced by contemporary British filmmakers

Film Review by Katie Goh | 16 Feb 2018
  • Pin Cushion
Film title: Pin Cushion
Director: Deborah Haywood
Starring: Joanna Scanlan, Lily Newmark, Sacha Cordy-Nice
Release date: 13 Jul
Certificate: 15

Deborah Haywood’s debut centres on a mother, Lyn (Scanlan), and her daughter, Iona (an otherworldly Newmark), who move into a small English town. The relationship between mother and daughter is unusual. They exist in a too-close-to-be-comfortable proximity to one another: they share one bed and, seemingly, one life. When Iona begins her new school and starts to gain independence, moving beyond her mother’s control, the relationship between the women is stretched to its limits – and then it snaps.

Pin Cushion is visually overwhelming. Described by Haywood as a “fairytale,” the film, like Lyn and Iona’s house, is vivid, full of colour and overstuffed. It’s a deliberate decision used to create a sense of claustrophobia that reflects Iona’s higgledy-piggledy emotions, although, perhaps at times, less would have been more.

Despite its dreamlike qualities, as the film progresses, both Pin Cushion and Haywood show their teeth. Bullying, sexuality, ostracisation, and the social other are themes which Pin Cushion explores to an unnerving and violent end. We can’t wait to see what this filmmaker does next. [Katie Goh]

Pin Cushion has its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival: Mon 26 Feb, GFT, 6pm | Tue 27 Feb, GFT, 4pm

Read more about Glasgow Film Festival in The CineSkinny – in print at Glasgow Film Theatre and the CCA, and online at