Pin Cushion (film)

Pin Cushion is a 2017 English-language film written and directed by Deborah Haywood, her feature film debut. Pin Cushion premiered as the opening film of International Critics' Week at the 74th Venice International Film Festival[1][2] and was released in the United Kingdom on 13 July 2018.

Pin Cushion
Pin Cushion (2017) Film Poster.jpg
Directed byDeborah Haywood
Written byDeborah Haywood
Music byNatalie Holt
CinematographyNicola Daley
Edited byAnna Dick
Nick Emerson
Release date
  • 31 August 2017 (2017-08-31) (Venice Film Festival)
  • 13 July 2018 (2018-07-13)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Mother Lyn and daughter Iona (a.k.a. Dafty One and Dafty Two) are excited to be starting a new life in a small Midlands town. Determined to make a success of things after a tricky start at a new school, the gawky Iona becomes ‘best friends’ with Keeley, Stacey and Chelsea. Used to having Iona to herself, Lyn feels left out and tries unsuccessfully to make her own friends starting with Belinda, her sour-faced neighbour. As much as Lyn and Iona pretend to each other that things are going well, Iona struggles with schoolmates who act more like 'frenemies' than friends, and Lyn is treated with varying degrees of indifference by neighbours and a supposed support group.


  • Lily Newmark as Iona[3]
  • Joanna Scanlan as Lyn
  • Loris as Daz Scarpa
  • Sacha as Keeley Cordy-Nice
  • Bethany as Chelsea Antonia
  • Saskia as Stacie Paige-Martin
  • Sophia Tuckey as Peggy
  • John Henshaw as Percy
  • Lennon as Sam Bradley
  • Aury Wayne as Sicko
  • Charles as Dwayne Francis
  • Isy Suttie as Anne
  • Jacob Lee as Jordan
  • Chanel Cresswell as Belinda
  • Nadine Coyle as Air Hostess


Pin Cushion was filmed in Haywood's home town of Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, with locations including the interior of Gresley Old Hall in Church Gresley, the interior and exterior of The Pingle Academy, the exterior of the Town Hall, and in West Street to the High Street in the town centre, and a scene filmed in Burton Queen's Hospital. The house the main characters move into can be found in Hastings Road, Swadlincote.[4]

Haywood chose to shoot part of the film at her old school because she "had such an awful time there. Before the film I used to close my eyes when I would drive past, now when I drive past I have great memories of making a film there." The graffiti written about her in the past had been painted over in the intervening years.[5]


Pin Cushion has received positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89%, based on 36 reviews with an average rating of 7.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Pin Cushion explores the prickly dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and female friendships, led by striking work from leads Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan."[6] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] The film was described by The Guardian as an "ecstasy of black comic misery and cartoon horror".[8]


  1. ^ "The lineup of the 2017 Venice International Film Critics' Week". Sindicato nazionale critici cinematografici italiani. 2017. Retrieved 2019-02-21.
  2. ^ Paul O'Callaghan (6 September 2017). "Deborah Haywood's prickly debut Pin Cushion: 'It's easier to explore taboo subjects like a fairytale'". BFI.
  3. ^ Jones, Emma (25 February 2018). "How Lily Newmark found bullying 'closure' in Pin Cushion film'". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  4. ^ Smith, Anna (9 July 2018). "Pin Cushion". Time Out London. Time Out Group. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ Mitchell, Wendy (2018-01-25). "Deborah Haywood talks striking debut 'Pin Cushion' ahead of IFFR Live screening". Screen. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  6. ^ "Pin Cushion (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Pin Cushion Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (12 July 2018). "Pin Cushion review – ecstasy of black comic misery and cartoon horror". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 16 July 2018.

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