director: William Nicholson (firelight)
starring: bill nighy, annette bening, josh o'connor and aiysha hart
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A couple's visit with their son takes a dramatic turn when the father tells him he plans on leaving his mother.
I’ve gotta admit. Ever since his outrageously flamboyant and hilarious turn as rock star Billy Mack, I’ve been an ardent Bill Nighy fan. Instead of being sidelined to a supporting role, Nighy, along with his co-stars Benning and O’Connor, bring their serious acting prowess to Hope Gap and with it bring an intimate story of ferocious power.
After meeting Grace lives an idyllic life in a British seaside town, but her world soon comes crashing down when her husband of 29 years tells her he's leaving her for another woman. Through stages of shock, disbelief and anger - and with support from her son - Grace ultimately regains her footing while learning it's never too late to be happy.
Hope Gap is one for the drama lovers; those who love great stories that examine the power of ‘normal’ life situations accompanied by great acting. While it isn’t filled with fancy, CGI action set pieces, Hope Gap will keep you glued to the screen with a superb story of depth with characters to match it.
Some could bring a critique that Hope Gap doesn’t move fast enough or that its subject is mundane, but they would be missing the point. This is high drama, examining the intimacy, pain, joy and disappointments of family relationships. Cinema is a broad ‘church’ that entertains through more than fancy, blockbuster franchises. It's bigger, wider and far richer than that. And there lies one of cinema's many elements of beauty.
The acting is absolutely impeccable. It feels that you have been transported from the cinema to a perfect view of actors treading the boards in some West End London production. Benning is a broken, strong, raging ball of fire and brimstone, Nighy finally has the width and depth that his phenomenal acting demands and delivers outstandingly and O’Connor, fresh from his turn in Netflix’s The Crown, shows range and depth beyond his years.
A film of ferocious power in its simple intimacy, Hope Gap has one of the best ensemble performances of the year and Bill Nighy gives a career best. Not one to be missed.