Striking British drama featuring a revelatory turn from model Agyness Deyn
The family unit has been a cornerstone of storytelling since time immemorial, and of cinema since the first moving pictures flickered into life. It's rare to see a film that doesn't feature these relationships, screenwriters from across genres celebrating and subverting traditional bonds. In adapting Ray Robinson's novel, screenwriter Joe Fisher has painted a compelling portrait of modern family life, and the role of the individual within it.
Model turned actress Agyness Deyn is a revelation in the central role of striking twenty-something Lily who, after the death of her mother, travels from her blustery coastal home to London to find her estranged brother. Lily's attempts to live a normal life – to make friends, to go on dates – are constantly challenged, not just by her family problems but also her epilepsy; she suffers violent fits that leave her disoriented, bloody and, far worse, vulnerable.
Instead of treating this illness in the subdued, reverential tones usually reserved for such themes, director Bryn Higgins wisely embraces the jagged edges of Lily's psyche. The narrative comes to blistering life through her fractured consciousness, cinematographer Si Bell's gloriously disarming POV camerawork allowing us to experience first hand the hallucinatory beauty and physical pain of Lily's condition. Paired with the blistering neon flashes of light and colour that represent the misfiring of mental synapses, it provides effective (and stunning) insight into Lily's character and motivations.
The vibrancy of these neurological electrical storms provides stark contrast to the grey mundanity of everyday life, yet it's this very normalcy that Lily is seeking, her search for her brother representing a quest for stability in a world that's constantly shifting. It's a universally resonant idea that, in the hands of these expert filmmakers, becomes something unique and wonderful.
Selected release from Fri 12 Dec.