Almost unbearably sad, Hope Dickson Leach’s Morning Echo captures the suffocating resentment that can build up in families when caring for a loved one who’s terminally ill. Here, Franny Moffat didn’t think she’d live for another Christmas so her family held a Christmas Day for her in October. Fast forward to 25th December and she’s still alive but her family are crumbling around her under the strain and it is agonisingly compelling to watch. Kerry Fox and Peter Sullivan are just fantastic as the embittered parents and an assortment of other children play out their dysfunction in a range of disarming ways. Even as they’re all eventually brought together in the end for Franny, the melancholy note on which it finishes has lingered long in the mind. Hauntingly good.
What starts off as a sly dig at the pointlessness of team building activities at work away days turn into something more poignant as when it comes to the The Circle of Truth in which everyone has to say something that their workmates don’t know about each other, it turns out that Gen has a huge revelation up her sleeve. Whether or not to use it becomes the quietly moving debate of the film which manages to prevent itself from ever seeming preachy.
Jonny Blair’s The Groundsman is a rather moving look at a particular type of modern masculinity, the men who lock up all sorts of personal emotion but devote themselves entirely to the pursuit of the beautiful game. Keith is such a one, he’s even the groundsman for the local club, so when he arrives one day to find that they’ve gone out of business, he does everything in his power to save them. But emotionally inarticulate and deeply unhappy – as his fondness for a drink or seven shows – he’s no superhero to save the day and as he unravels in trying to do the right thing, we get a glimpse into what just might have pushed him into this state of mind. Delicately moving.
Written and directed by Stephanie Zari, Dawn is a cleverly constructed and conceived psychodrama that looks at what damage might be inflicted on triplets when one of their number dies at birth. Jude and Maddison, the two that must go on living – although they choose more to subsist – find themselves trapped in a hinterland of enduring grief and loss but a glimmer of light can be found in the presence of outsider Tom. I was a little disappointed that the sexual intrigue didn’t play out the way I thought it would (and the way that the chemistry seemed to indicate) but Edward Hogg, Keeley Forsyth and Nick Barber all deliver strong performances as the intimacy intensifies between the trio.
It’s slim pickings for fans of Sam Swainsbury at the moment so here’s a thing that his voice is allegedly in (according to IMDB) but I’m not too sure…