Strawberry Fields

"Weak"

Strawberry Fields Review


Distraught drama and over-egged performances give this film a self-indulgent tone. Aside from the first-rate cinematography and editing, it's so disappointingly arch that we struggle to believe anything, even as it touches on important themes.

Gillian (Madeley) is running away from home when she gets the idea to work picking strawberries, pretending to be "Tammy" from Scarborough. Her new boss is Kev (Elliott), a lusty man with a mysterious past who takes an interest in her. Then her sister Emily (Bottomley) storms onto the farm. Clearly, the deeply unstable Emily has been controlling Gillian's life for a long time, and now that their mother has died, Gillian wants to do her own thing. But can she escape Emily's manipulative grasp?

The improvised approach allows the cast to create characters within a loose narrative. Filmmaker Lea is telling the story in a freeform style, straying from the demands of movie structure. Sometimes this is interesting because it confounds our expectations and catches us off guard with moments of warmth and darkly unsettling drama. And it also lets the film drift occasionally toward a horror film, with nasty encounters that flare up seemingly out of nowhere.

The problem is that nothing rings true to life. Every reaction is almost insanely exaggerated, making us wonder early on if these sisters are clinically schizophrenic. The only realistic person is Kev, played with darkly alluring charm by Elliott, but the character is betrayed by the script, which hangs him out to dry before a half-hearted epilogue. In fact, between him and his coworker Fabio (Bonnici), who has an unnatural loyalty to Emily, the film feels like it was written by someone who hates men.

Aside from wallowing in each character's violent tendencies, Lea lets her cast overplay every scene. Madeley and Bottomley are gifted actors, but they're coaxed to play Gillian and Emily in far-too-obvious ways, with constant hints at mental instability, goofy mannerisms and sudden personality changes. This is the kind of thing that alienates viewers from small, offbeat movies. And while Lea touches on important issues such as family pressures, romantic manipulation and the deep yearning for independence, she shouts everything far too loudly for it to have any impact.



Strawberry Fields

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th July 2012

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 4.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Frances Lea

Producer: Liam Beatty, Lucie Wenigerova

Starring: as Kev, Anna Madeley as Gillian, as Emily, Philip Martin Brown as Bob

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.