- Hope Gap review by JB
Adapted from a stage play of the same name, Hope Gap is the story of what happens when a couple in their late middle age living in an English seaside town, separate after 29 years of marriage. Annette Bening and Bill Nighy are the couple, and Josh O'Connor is their grown-up son, living away from the family home. It's a powerhouse of performances that give life to this otherwise middling drama.
To give credit to writer-director William Nicholson, adapting his own play here, he gives it some welly… there's beautiful seaside shots, lashings of piano and string music and he does try to break up some long scenes of dialogue that would remind an audience it's adapted from the stage. But it's not enough - in particular, the remaining dialogue feels very stagey and distracting; rich in metaphor and details of people's inner lives exquisitely expressed that would sonorously fill the glorious vacuum of a theatre, but here it feels stilted. The drama is sometimes affecting but mostly static and it does feel thin, as if this is just a vehicle for some big performances but without the substance to give them much to say.
If you're an Annette Bening fan, it's another good role for her although on occasion her performance feels larger than it needs to be, including an extravagantly posh English accent. But otherwise this stage play adaptation is faintly if inevitably disappointing, like a wet weekend at the English seaside.
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