Hope Gap

A sign of times to come
Verdict: 
Verdict: 9/10 - Annette Bening, Bill Nighy and Josh O'Connor are all fantastic in this well-written and well-observed tale of a marriage breakdown
Release Date: 
Friday, August 28, 2020
Written by: 

Annette Bening and Bill Nighy give terrific performances as a former couple going through a separation.

9

All the film chatter may be about a certain blockbuster this week, but that's not the only new release on offer to cinemagoers this weekend.

This drama follows Grace (Annette Bening) and Edward (Bill Nighy), who have been married for 29 years and live in the British seaside town of Seaford, where they like to visit a cove under the cliffs called Hope Gap.

Their marriage has stagnated - they rarely have an honest and real conversation anymore and Edward always feels like he does everything wrong in Grace's eyes, while Grace tries to provoke him into arguments to force him to talk frankly but they only result in him silently walking away, much to her frustration.

Their son Jamie (Josh O'Connor) comes to visit for the weekend and Edward informs him he has fallen in love with somebody else and plans to leave his mother that very day.

The rest of the film follows the three characters as they cope with his life-changing decision.

 

William Nicholson, who also directs, has written an incredible screenplay. The dialogue is so rich, realistic and well-observed that it grabs you from the get-go and instantly has you hooked.

The standout scenes include Grace and Edward's confrontations at the beginning of the film, before their marriage breakdown, and their respective conversations with Jamie, who ends up being their messenger.

The three lead performances are all impressive too. Bening, who is always a reliable performer, really convinces as this hurt, bitter, and angry estranged wife struggling to accept her new life.

Her British accent was decent, although it seemed to be a different kind of British at different times.

Nighy has never been better as Edward, who feels guilty for being happy with his new partner and wishes he had left his marriage many years before. O'Connor rounds out the strong cast as the man in the middle who starts going to visit his mum every weekend to make sure she's doing OK.

He tries not to take sides and is struggling to deal with the loss of his family unit and newly-tarnished childhood memories.

The location is basically a character too - the Seven Sisters cliffs of East Sussex are used a backdrop, many scenes are shot on Seaford Head and down below at the Hope Gap, a popular rockpooling area, so the film looks beautiful.

With terrific performances, a stellar script and a stunning location, what's not to love about Hope Gap?

Arriving in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema on Friday 28 August.

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