The simplicity of the story and the austere production style leaves everything in the hands of the performers, and Reid is especially amazing, taking us way beneath May's skin without any obvious cinematic stuff about grief and sexuality. Her scenes with the excellent Craig are stunningly natural and believable. The subtle, authentic performances combine to paint a fascinating portrait of family interaction. Meanwhile, Michell directs with a slightly aloof eye, shyly lingering on neutral images or losing focus when things get too personal. These are much more than just visual flourishes; they give us insight into characters and situations, highlighting the fragile interplay between parents, children, siblings, friends and lovers. The organic rhythms of life are here--an unpredictable mix of chaos and tranquillity punctuated by every kind of emotion. Each person's extenuating circumstances are touched upon; we can understand how they get into this messy situation--for all their beautiful surfaces, people are confused, lonely, lost. And while the film is weakened by an overwrought, melodramatic climax, it's still a beautifully observed slice of life that teaches us about ourselves without ever being preachy.
dir Roger Michell|
scr Hanif Kureishi
with Anne Reid, Daniel Craig, Cathryn Bradshaw, Steven Mackintosh, Oliver Ford Davies, Anna Wilson Jones, Peter Vaughan, Danira Govich, Harry Michell, Rosie Michell, Carlo Kureishi, Sachin Kureishi
release UK 14.Nov.03; US 28.May.04
Reflections: Reid and Craig.
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