Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including Shia LeBeouf’s semi-autobiographical story “Honey Boy,” the eco-doc “Spaceship Earth,” the period dramedy “Emma,” the ripped-from-the-headlines “The Assistant,” the family drama “Ordinary Love,” the horror comedy “Extra ordinary,” the ugly divorce proceedings of “Hope Gap” and the neo-realist look at the gig economy “Sorry We Missed You.”
In climate change circles the term “hope gap” refers to people who worry about global warming but feel powerless to do anything about it. The new film “Hope Gap,” now on VOD, has nothing to do with the climate, but is all about change and a person who feels powerless to prevent it.
Bill Nighy and Annette Bening play mild-mannered Edward and firecracker Grace, a married couple of twenty-nine-years. Their cluttered home displays the earmarks of a life well-lived. Shelves overflow with books and knick knacks, photographs decorate the fridge. They have a seemingly comfortable relationship; they know how one another takes their tea and pad about the house working on their pet projects, his academic updating of Wikipedia history sites, her poetry projects.
When their son Jamie (Josh O’Connor) comes to their Sussex coast home to visit there is tension in the air. Grace, in an attempt to shock Edward out of what she thinks is his silent complacency, picks a brutal fight, overturning a table and slapping her husband in the face. “He should fight back,” she says to Jamie. “I want a reaction.”
The relative calm of the seaside home shattered, Edward announces that he has long felt inadequate in the marriage and that he’s leaving, immediately. Devastated, Grace wants to try and work things out as Edward begins his new life.
“Hope Gap” has moments of humour but make no mistake, this is downbeat story about two people who were living separate lives under one roof. The overall tone is one of melancholy but not melodramatic. Nighy and Bening give naturalistic performances, each feeling the pain of the other’s actions in a battle of wills. Bening is heartbroken, angry and yet hopeful for reconciliation. Nighy plays Edward like a wounded animal, skittish and afraid, a damaged man who has retreated from the relationship.
The beauty of the screenplay by Oscar-nominated writer-director William Nicholson, is that it doesn’t take sides. Complex characters are thrown into a complicated, almost unbearable situation with no real winners. It paints a vivid picture of Grace and Edward but doesn’t judge them.
“Hope Gap” is a portrait of middle-age angst. It may not make for a good date night movie but the nuance of the relationships on display is worth the price of admission.
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at the kid’s action movie “My Spy,” the divorce drama “Hope Gap” and the political polarization of “The Hunt.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with host Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s biggest releases including “My Spy,” the odd couple flick for kids, the controversial “The Hunt,” the adult drama “Hope Gap” and the wild supernatural comedy “Extra Ordinary.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at Andrew Garfield’s romantic medical drama “Breathe,” the ice cold crime drama “The Snowman” and the controversial “Una.”
In “Breathe” Andrew Garfield plays Robin Cavendish, one of the longest-lived responauts in Britain history. It is, among other things, undoubtedly the bubbliest movie about polio ever made.
The opening moments of breeze are so unrelentingly chipper that as an audience member you just know the party will soon and in some sort of tragedy will happen. When we first meet Cavendish it’s 1958. He’s a young, vital man who falls in love at first sight with Diana Blacker (Claire Foy), a beautiful, rich woman he meets at a cricket match. It’s all sunshine and roses as they quickly fall in love, get married, get pregnant and move to Kenya to pursue Robin’s career as a tea merchant.
It’s a picture perfect romance until Robin’s health begins to falter. He’s short of breath, his limb ache. Soon he can barely stand. By the time he is diagnosed with polio he is paralyzed from the neck down. “The result is you become like a ragdoll,” Diana is told by the doctor. “He can’t breath for himself. The paralysis is irreversible.”
Grim news for the newlyweds. Given just three months to live Robin asks to be allowed to die but his doctors and Diana will hear nothing of it. Hooked up to a ventilator he lays motionless and despondent in a hospital ward waiting for the inevitable. Unable to find any joy in life he tries to push Diana away but she perseveres, visiting everyday.
Then the jaunty music reappears on the soundtrack and a smile returns to Robin’s face. The couple hatch a plan to move home so Robin can live out his final moments surrounded by the creature comforts of home. “No one, anywhere in the world with your husband’s degree of disability exists outside a hospital,” warns the doctor. Except that he does. In fact he thrives, living for decades, becoming an activist for disabled people and helping to design mobile life support machines to untether patients from their beds. “Do you see a creature who is barely alive,” he asks, “or a man who escaped the confines of a hospital board? I don’t want to just survive I want to truly live.”
“Breathe” breathes the same air as other indomitable spirit movies like “My Left Foot” and “The Theory of Everything.” The big difference is that this is a relentlessly upbeat film. “Are we plucky or pitiful” asks Diana. The answer is obvious but eventually there is something endearing, winning even, about its uncompromisingly buoyant tone. Perhaps that’s because director Andy Serkis paints the story as a love story rather than a medical drama or maybe it’s because of the winning performances from Garfield and Foy.
Garfield is ostensibly the lead but it is Foy who impresses. “The Crown” actress is the heart and soul of the story, providing a rock solid foundation for Garfield’s character.
“Breathe” doesn’t have the gravitas of “The Theory of Everything”—it spends too much time trying to wring all the emotion out of the story like tears from a sponge—but it does have compassion and heart.