A young boy, Cyril, learns to accept his father’s abandonment through the kindness of an old neighbour. She fosters him at weekends as his behaviour becomes increasingly difficult and harder to accept.

There are two types of people who see this film. One falls in love with the slow pacing, the focus on emotion, the simplicity of the scenes. The other feels baffled, a bit disappointed, and somewhat displaced by the ending. I’m oscillating between the two.

As a careful, detailed study of humans as they are, it’s impressive. The long takes make it seem like a documentary, and the spotlight is on the feelings of the characters, not the setting or the artistry of film. There’s little soundtrack and minimum dialogue. And although it explores morality, there’s barely any judgement. This film presents people, in the world, as they are.

Which in a way is where it falls short. As a presentation of people, it’s detailed and interesting. But there is something lacking. You don’t live and die with the characters. You’re not indifferent to them, but neither are you attached. It’s intriguing, and psychologically dense. It’s a film that needs to be absorbed, that washes over you and leaves you pondering. It’s not an edge-of-your seat compelling watch though, and although quite a lot happens, be prepared for it to happen slowly.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend it. The performances are excellent, and very believable. If you liked Neds (2010) or are a fan of Sofia Coppola, this may be for you. It’s a thought-provoking and astute study of human nature that lingers long after you’ve left the cinema.

Kat Dixon

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