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Anchor and Hope


Stars: Oona Chaplin, Natalie Tena, David Verdaguer, Geraldine Chaplin, Lara Rossi, Charlotte Atkinson, Philip Arditti

Director: Carlos Marquez-Marcet

Am I missing something here? No, this is the kind of film that critics revere, but which may well bore general audiences to tears.

Kat (Tena) and Eva (Oona Chaplin) are Anglo-Spanish 30something lesbian partners living aboard a painted houseboat chugging gently through the canals of London and its environs.

They take on board the flamboyant Roger (Verdaguer, way too much) and thereby hangs what there is of the tale which the director, at houseboat pace, manages to spin out to almost two hours.

There are drunken evenings, slanging matches and thoughts of one of the girls about having a baby.

The film is strong on bodily function scenes and explicit dialogue, but its expletive-laden screenplay fails to compensate for the very slow pacing throughout.

And 'What's funnier than a dead kid? A dead kid dressed as a clown' is the film's idea of a side-splitting joke.

At least one can praise the naturalistic performances of Chaplin, granddaughter of the great Charlie, and her co-star Tena, Game of Thrones veterans both. And Oona's real-life mum Geraldine has fun playing her eccentric on-screen mother.

The title, incidentally, refers not to characters' nicknames but perhaps to their off-on mooring of the boat, which in itself reflects the title of a pub at the side of the canal.

David Quinlan

Spain/UK 2018. UK Distributor: Network Releasing. Colour by Panalux.
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 23 Sep 2018