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.
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Juliet Stevenson , Hugh Brody - The Olivier Awards 2016 held at the Royal Opera House - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 3rd April 2016
While this odd biopic is a real mess, it's not quite the cinematic disaster snootier critics claim it is. Essentially fan fiction, the script spins a story that has only the vaguest basis in fact, drawing much of its dialog from screenwriter Jeffreys' and book author Kate Snell's imaginations. And if what these people say to each other wasn't so laughably silly, the film's genuinely intriguing themes might have emerged with more force.
We pick up the story in 1995, after Diana (Watts) has been separated from Prince Charles for three years. She still hasn't moved on romantically, and spends most evenings alone in Kensington Palace, making beans on toast and quietly crying herself to sleep. So when she meets heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Andrews), she's relieved that he doesn't treat her like a princess. Over the next two years, their romance develops in secret because Hasnat is a very private man and Diana is the most famous woman on earth. Fed up with the intrusive paparazzi, Hasnat puts the brakes on their relationship. So Diana uses her friend Dodi Fayed (Anvar) to provide misleading headlines and spark Hasnat's jealousy.
Of course, we know their love is doomed for another key reason: the film is bookended by scenes in Paris on the fateful evening of 31 August 1997. But even if this romance has clearly been fictionalised, it offers some intriguing themes that catch our sympathies, mainly due to an understated performance from Watts that occasionally catches Diana with remarkable detail. So it's frustrating that Khan is portrayed as such an icy, uninteresting figure, which means that Andrews never generates any chemistry with Watts.
Continue reading: Diana Review
Princess Diana was most definitely one of the most famous and inspirational women in the world, known to all as the People's Princess. Never seduced by the lure of wealth, fame and royalty, she lived her life for others, but struggled deeply from her own personal troubles; her failed marriage to Prince Charles embroiled in affair scandals and subsequent divorce, the constant hounding of the press and her later romances. When she met heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, she fell deeply in love, feeling for the first time in years, like a real woman. But it was a relationship doomed to failure with further media attention forcing a rift between them. She could never escape the scrutiny of the media, even while she put all her efforts into her hands-on charity work.
Continue: Diana Trailer
Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...
While this odd biopic is a real mess, it's not quite the cinematic disaster snootier...
Princess Diana was most definitely one of the most famous and inspirational women in the...
Princess Diana was known across the world as the 'People's Princess'. Her beauty, dignity and...