Run time: 94 mins
Actor-turned-filmmaker Craig Roberts juggles quirky humour with hard truths in this darkly comical romantic drama.
After being dumped at the altar, Jane (Sally Hawkins) had a psychological breakdown. Two decades later, she is still unable to make emotional sense of her life, not helped at all by her self-absorbed family; pushy mum Vivian, browbeaten dad Dennis and cruel sister Nicola. At least older sister Alice makes a bit more of an effort, even if her husband sets Jane off. Tired of being heavily medicated by her doctor, Jane stops taking her pills and she soon finds herself connecting to fellow oddball Mike (David Thewlis).
Anchoring a terrific cast, Hawkins gives a remarkably textured performance, continually revealing telling elements of Jane’s personality. She may seem hopelessly batty, but she’s easily the most likeable person in her family, a woman broken by a trauma and finally finding healing on her own terms. Thewlis is charming as the equally offbeat Mike, effortlessly making Jane smile.
Films about depression and mental instability are notoriously tricky to pull off. Here Roberts’ ambitious balancing act of bleak drama and genuine laughs is an authentic, surprising and rewarding watch. (Chris Coetsee)