Words Mike Beck
“An excellently executed and understated drama”
Surprisingly a lot can happen in a small seaside town. Well within a household, in the case of this little film. Hope Gap is a family film for adults, or more accurately the story of a family unit of three breaking down.
Veteran writer William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator, Everest) not only directs Hope Gap, but also adapted the screenplay from his experience as a youth growing up during the separation of his parents. His personal touch provides a sensitivity to this tale, as Edward (Bill Nighy) decides to leave his wife Grace (Annette Benning) after many years of marriage to her. Making things all the more difficult is their son Jamie (Josh O’Connor) is caught up in the middle.
Hope Gap is a tonally conservative slow-paced British drama, with themes that explore the dynamics of relationships and family, and the fallout when things dismantle. The story is told from the perspective of the trio of core characters, giving you the viewer a choice on who to identify/side with.
Bill Nighy seems to deliver for every role he takes on these days, and his performance here playing an understated character is spot on. The real hit here though is Benning, whose emotive range and no kinks Brit accent give her pole star status. Essentially Grace’s story, Benning’s ability to cover a broad character arc should see her get nods at next years awards nominations, hopefully.
Hope Gap will resonate with anyone from a fractured family, it’s fact based content & empathetic acting help build its authenticity. Some clever use of its locations and landscapes, along with a tight focus on the three central characters provide Hope Gap with an intimacy that paradoxically is what Benning’s character is in search of. An excellently executed and understated drama, Hope Gap’s subtle unravelling is such that it withholds enough information to keep you from guessing the outcome.
Out in cinemas September 24th