Radiator Review by The Guardian ★ ★ ★ ★

November 2015

Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years recently exploited the relatively unnoticed cinematic potential in the domestic lives of older people: the secret existences of a long marriage. Michael Haneke’s Amour, in its more exacting and terrifying way, did too.

Now this excellent debut from British writer-director Tom Browne approaches the same territory: an intimate, micro-budget drama which is absorbing, subtle and outstandingly acted. (Browne was the co-writer of Ben Hopkins’s The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz in 2000, and has had a substantial acting career under the name Tom Fisher.) His co-writer, Daniel Cerqueira, plays Daniel, a lonely middle-aged teacher in London, who receives a desperate telephone call from his elderly mother, Maria (Gemma Jones). His cantankerous and impossible father, Leonard (Richard Johnson), has evidently taken to lying on the downstairs couch, apparently stricken with an immobility which is at least partly psychosomatic.

Daniel arrives at their tiny Lake District cottage to find chaos and squalor. The couple’s unhappiness and relationship is in some kind of awful endgame, but Daniel is deeply affected both by his mother’s dedication and by what the situation indirectly reveals about his own unhappiness. This is tremendously intelligent, personal work.

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