Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience, but those who connect into its rhythms will find a witty, engaging coming-of-age story that finds hope in unexpected places. The film may be infused with a sense of impending doom, but that's precisely how the central characters feel. And with his first feature, Andrew Steggall proves to be a filmmaker with an unusual gift for delving beneath the surface.
The story takes place in southern France, where a British mother and son have gone to pack up the holiday home they've just sold. Beatrice (Juliet Stevenson) sees this as a pivotal moment in her life, realising that her marriage to Philip (Finbar Lynch) is over, and taking some time to get used to the idea before he arrives later to help. Meanwhile, their 15-year-old son Elliot (Alex Lawther) is wrestling with his own personal dilemma, afraid to give in to the desires he feels swelling up inside of him. He can't help but develop a crush on the brooding local mechanic Clement (Phenix Brossard), seeing their close friendship as possibly promising something more. The problem is that both Beatrice and Elliot are so caught up in their own journeys that they haven't noticed that they need each other.
This is an exploration of the difficulty of accepting a truth we already know deep down. And both Stevenson and Lawther are gifted at performing these kinds of layered characters, friendly on the surface but closed off from everyone else as they struggle through a darkly personal odyssey. Both are stubborn and selfish, but also raw and honest, which makes them hugely sympathetic. We long for them to simply sit down and talk to each other, to connect and realise that they're far more alike than they think. Into this, both Lynch and Brossard bring additional textures that offer danger and perhaps a chance to move forward.
Continue reading: Departure Review
All right... so we don't have to wait till the sequel to see Emily Watson be cremated and we don't have to sit through two hours and twenty minutes of a film that make a suicidal lemming seem like a happy chump, but The Closer You Get isn't exactly a movie that sketches the Irish as progressing far into their adulthood. In store for Irish men in adulthood is a simple life of multiple pints of flat Guinness combined with a sexual desperation so great that the Irish men take out a want ad in the Miami Herald.
Continue reading: The Closer You Get Review
An amusing but forgettable, light rural comedy from Ireland, the generically titled "The Closer You Get" is another aren't-men-adorable-dimwits satire, about the lonely lads of a craggy coastal hamlet who concoct a inept plan to import sexy American girls for courting.
With most of the local gals unavailable or uninterested, this desperate lot of paunchy, pasty, ruddy Irishmen (lead by Ian Hart, "Backbeat") buy a classified in the Miami Herald advertising for marriage-minded, "attractive girls 20 to 21." Then they smarten themselves up as best they can and start a daily stakeout at the bus stop just outside town, anticipating the arrival of interested parties.
Of course, its a foredrawn conclusion that none show up and the men will pair off with local lassies after all -- but only after becoming jealous when the likable village women conspire to mock them by romancing a gypsy-like band of seasonal Spanish fishermen.
Continue reading: The Closer You Get Review
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