Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution
The National Lottery logo often elicits audience groans at the start of a film; twee comedy-dramas like Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution are the reason why. Set in 1969, Billie Eltringham’s film begins when British couple Dorothy and Frank (Catherine Tate and Iain Glen) decamp their family to East Germany, hoping for a fresh new start under communist rule. Their dreams come to nought – the Soviet bloc turns out to have more funny foreigners in it than a DVD box set of “‘Allo ‘Allo!”. Soon Dorothy is planning a daring and unlikely escape for the whole family, by hot air balloon no less.
Stuffed with crass cultural assumptions about the superiority of British nationality, Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution attempts to adapt the prissy persona of its female star into the serious Cold War environment of The Lives of Others; the result is a tasteless mismatch comparable to Jerry Lewis playing a concentration camp victim in 1972’s The Day the Clown Died. Fortunately, Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution is unlikely to change the world.