Trivial piece about an important subject
- Hope Gap review by PD
Ignoring the largely indifferent reviews, I took a punt on this one, but unfortunately pretty much everything, be it the acting, the screenplay, the direction, all falls rather flat. It's a promising premise - most divorce dramas start at the beginning and lead you to the break-up, whereas this one starts at the end and concentrates on the fall-out, but sadly, since it seems deliberately keen to avoid any kind of emotional depth, what we end up with is a very trivial piece about an important subject and you end up not really caring much about these people.
Nighy as Edward appears right for his role; his early scenes of biding-his-time tolerance before the great revelation are pretty good, but he remains rather one-dimensional throughout, and whilst O’Connor does ok with a dreadfully thin script, they remain more archetypes of a feuding couple than flesh-and-blood people who were once in love with one another; Nicholson’s failure to probe Grace and Edward’s interior landscapes, or even get at the root problems of their marriage, only makes the film’s attempts at big emotional gestures feel all the more hollow. Added to the mix is Josh O'Connor as son Jamie, but rather than explore the dysfunctional context of this father-son relationship and whatever led up to such a callous, manipulative decision, Nicholson settles for propping him as the helpless middleman with the result that he spends much of the film giving us various pained expressions of one sort or another. And when he finally does have something to 'do' it all ends badly - a truly terrible sequence involving Jamie talking to his mother about a desire to commit suicide on the cliff edge is terribly trite - I've seen better work from sixth-formers, frankly. The overall result of all this is a film that, as with a dull play (and this does feel very 'stagey'), tries your patience at times. Meanwhile, Cinematographer Anna Valdez-Hanks provides breathtaking views of the coastline, but those vistas feel more like some tv nature documentary rather than anything complementary to what is going on, whilst the portentous score is simply an irritating distraction.
There's one or two good lines that get us underneath Grace's complex skin, as it were, but, aside from an ill-judged attempt to shoehorn some famous poetry into the action, the basic problem is that Grace is defined entirely by her relation to Edward and Jamie. We’re told that Grace is a creative soul nourished by her faith and driven by her passion, but except for one brief scene of her at early Mass, we see precious little of either - it’s as if she disappears as soon as the men in her life leave the room. Perhaps only a man could make a film about a 'left woman' that cares more about the leaver.
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
- Hope Gap review by TH
Wow this film was terrible. The acting was really bad from 2 actors who are normally fairly good. I feel this is down to one of the worst scripts I've heard in a while. It felt like a first draft. Nothing interesting happens at all and you will not care one bit about the characters who have zero personality.
Both Nighy and Benning should erase this from their cv.
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
- Hope Gap review by SJ
I really found this film hard going. Bill Nighy always the same in character but you wanted him to just to spit out his feelings and be more touchy feely.
Cannot recommend this film unless you want to be really depressed.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.