Isn’t it funny how a movie that starts with a line in voiceover narration like “my story can never be told” ends up being a two hour movie in which that story is told in great detail, right?
Eleanor (Saorise Ronan) and Clara (Gemma Arterton) are 200 year old vampire-like creatures (called “succreants”) in modern day England. Though they refer to each other as sisters, Clara is actually Eleanor’s mother. Eleanor keeps her blood thirst in check by only feeding on dying old people, while Clara supports them by prostituting. After meeting a doughy, bespectacled customer who owns a hotel named Byzantium, Clara sets up a brothel and believes that their problems have been solved. However, Eleanor meets a gangly, nervous teenager named Frank (Caleb Landry Jones) and she finds herself drawn to him. She aches to reveal her true nature to him but Clara has so far kept her unaware of the costs of that decision – they are being tracked by powerful dark forces. Intercut with this narrative is the story of how Clara and Eleanor became succreants and why they must hide their true nature from the world.