“As nuanced and heartbreaking as a great novel” ★★★★ Evening Standard

December 2015


Cert 15, 94 mins, 27 November

HUMBLE but not humdrum, this British drama from first time director Tom Browne is mostly set in a Lake District cottage, a residence so authentically chaotic it make the Paper Street House in Fight Club look like an ideal home. It’s got this way because middle-class liberals – autocratic Leonard and flappy Maria (Richard Johnson and Gemma Jones) – are sinking into decrepitude. When their only son, Daniel (Daniel Cerqueira), arrives, he’s determined to put things right. Naturally, things go awry.

The often hilarious script doesn’t side with any particular character. Leonard’s eyes make you think of empty hanging baskets, but his vicious put-downs spill over with life. Daniel seems right to be wary of Leonard; Maria seems equally right to adore him.

As a study of how the past affects the present, Radiator is as nuanced and heartbreaking as a great novel (it reminded me of John McGahern’s Amongst Women.

The left-field performances (Cequeira, the film’s co-writer, has the kind of vocal rhythms you rarely hear on screen) are sublime. Rachel Weisz and Barbara Broccoli are credited as executive producers – this movie has friends in high places. Let’s hope they can help get Radiator an audience because it deserves to be loved.

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