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Stars: Rafe Spall, Emilia Fox, Elaine Cassidy, William Stagg, Ross McCormack, Sophie Simnett, Andrew Byron

Director: Niall Johnson

A full-throated weepie that sometimes manipulates our emotions a shade too brazenly, as it relates the story of almost perfect marriage of Kate (Fox) and Singe (Spall), sweethearts from their teenage years and now married with two young sons, one of whom (Stagg) has beaten cancer against all the odds,

Now, a few years later, Kate herself is diagnosed with (breast) cancer. Despite being given an 80 per cent chance of survival, the film makes no secret from the outset that she succumbs to the disease at the age of 38.

But, on an assortment of Post-Its, text messages and the like, she leaves behind a long list of things for Singe to follow in the upbringing of the boys; as these include buying a boat, the family obviously isn't short of a bob or two. They are also to continue using 'Acres and acres', the family endearment, as often as possible.

Though the film isn't quite as maudlin or glutinous as all this sounds, there is too little light and shade here. Spall looks devastated throughout, staring mournfully at the camera, leaving Fox to do the heavy-duty acting, and boy is the Silent Witness star good. In a bigger and better film, this performance would certainly come into contention with the arrival of the awards season.

It's a little disturbing, though, that Simnett, playing the teenage Kate, is nothing like Fox, whereas McCormack, as the younger Singe, is a pretty good match for Spall.

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: Studio Soho. Colour (unspecified).
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 20 Nov 2016