Rent Help (2021)

4.1 of 5 from 82 ratings
1h 38min
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When Sarah (Jodie Comer) starts working as a care assistant in a home for the elderly, she discovers she has a special talent for looking after the residents, one in particular. At 47 Tony (Stephen Graham) has early on set dementia causing moments of confusion and aggression that the staff find difficult to handle; Sarah begins to build a real bond with him. With the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic, Sarah and her colleagues are left ill equipped, led by an overwhelmed manager, and made helpless by the powers that be. Faced with impossible choices, Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect the residents. But the staff's heroism can only do so much.
Confronted with the grim and imminent reality of losing Tony, to what extremes will Sarah go to save her friend?
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Arthur Hughes, ,
Jenny Frayn
Jack Thorne
Acorn Media
British Films, Drama
Release Date:
Run Time:
98 minutes
English Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
2:1 Univisium
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Reviews (2) of Help

Care-home anguish - Help review by PD

Spoiler Alert

This one is set in a care home in 2020 and two thirds of the film is very effective at depicting the pressure-cooker anguish of dealing with Covid in this environment.

Jodie Comer is spot-on as 20-year-old newly qualified carer, Sarah, who proves unexpectedly good at the feeding, changing, cajoling, cheering and calming that makes up the average day of the residents / patients. The film centres around Sarah's relationship with Tony (Stephen Graham), who has young onset Alzheimer’s and a tendency to roam if not gently monitored. He is one of the more able residents and they form a friendship alongside her duty of care, fostered by games of 'Shithead', over which they trade stories of their respective misspent youths. There are lovely, funny, poignant scenes as they talk, laugh then suddenly have to negotiate the blanks in Tony’s memory and ride the mood swings his relentlessly advancing condition causes.

Sarah is still in her six-week probationary period when Covid strikes, brought in by one of the “bed-blockers” the hospital delivers to them to free space for the growing number of patients stricken with the new virus. The ambulance crew who bring them ask where the staff’s masks are. “We were told we didn’t need them.” Director Jack Thorne constructs a fine portrait of the interconnectedness of all things – or at least all chronically underfunded, under-advised things left to beg for help, piece together independent protocols and scrabble for PPE. However, when Tony becomes an indirect victim of Covid, the film moves into a much less convincing third act, one that seems even to come from a different drama - if the film had ended 20 minutes earlier, it would have been much more powerful, but as it is, the final section seriously undermines the character of Sarah we have come to admire, which is a pity. But overall, it's a timely reminder of some of our society's dark corners - a chilling reminder during the closing credits that care workers are, on average, paid £11.50 an hour says it all.

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Spotlight on the care home Covid debacle - Help review by TE

Spoiler Alert

I agree with previous reviewer, JD, that this is a fine and very relevant drama for two thirds of the film. In the final third, the previously very realistic narrative spirals off into an unlikely and unsatisfactory romantic fantasy.

The scenes in the care home, and the commentary on the despicable way that care homes were ignored during the first wave of Covid, are all excellent and very much to the point.

The acting is superb. Stephen Graham can do no wrong. His face alone speaks volumes even before he speaks his lines! Jodie Comer is also very good, playing the kind of part that must have been outside her comfort zone.

One point to correct in JD's review: the final credits refer to the average wage of care home workers as £8.50 per hour, not £11.50.

'Help' would have been so much better if the makers had stuck to the social commentary and not tried to manufacture a quirky love story.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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