Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. United Kingdom, 2004. Apocalypso Pictures, The Film Consortium, BBC Films, Baker Street, Take Partnership, UK Film Council. Screenplay by Pawel Pawlikowski, collaborating writer Michael Wynne, based on the novel by Helen Cross. Cinematography by Ryszard Lenczewski. Produced by Chris Collins, Tanya Seghatchian. Music by Alison Goldfrapp, Will Gregory. Production Design by John Stevenson. Costume Design by Julian Day. Film Editing by David Charap. Toronto International Film Festival 2004.
The age-old spin on first love is given fresh atmosphere in this highly enjoyable though not unforgettable drama. Natalie Press plays an aimless, working-class girl whose brother (Paddy Considine) has just gotten out of prison and is turning their family’s pub into a religious centre to suit his new attitude. One day while riding her engine-less motorbike on the road, she has a minor accident and makes the acquaintance of a beautiful heiress (Emily Blunt) who has just returned to their town after being ejected from her umpteenth school. The two become best friends, then lovers, as Press discovers the confidence to finally throw off her brother’s oppressive control of her while Blunt finally finds comfort from the difficulties she has with her family. The ending comes right out of left-field and may feel a bit rushed to some, but it’s also satisfying and a perfectly level-headed approach to a story that could have just gone bitter. Blunt and Press are both terrific, Considine gives great support, and Pawel Pawlikowski films everything with remarkable pace and energy.