The book is actually about the fantasies that the writer (Madeleins Stowe) had as a three-year-old who was locked in a closet by her abusive mother. She made up the characters to keep her mind off the abuse. The torturer (Alan Rickman) turns out to be the mother’s old boyfriend, who sexually abused the writer when she was a little girl locked in the closet.
Thanks, Ellen C. You know, I saw this movie, and I never even caught that part. I thought it was all political.