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Mothering Sunday


Stars: Odessa Young, Josh O'Connor, Colin Firth, Olivia Colman, Sope Dirisu, Glenda Jackson, Emily Woof, Emma D'Arcy

Director: Eva Husson

Slow, melancholy British film about love, sex, loss and grief. Australian-born actress Young, who spends most of the film wandering around in the nude and/or smoking heavily, seems too middle-class to be a maid to a stately English family in 1924, but then she does rise to become a famous author before the end of the film (and her performance is fine).

She's seduced by Paul, the remaining son (O'Connor) of the aristocratic Nivens (Firth, Colman), whose other two sons have been killed in the war, like the offspring of the family whose daughter Paul is about to marry.

Some of their dialogue together is rather twee, although the photography is ravishing throughout.

Jackson appears towards the end, and proves she's still got the ability to touch us, while Colman, in many ways her modern-day successor, is in for a cough and a spit, but has one great breakdown moment. It's all very English, and couldn't possibly have come from any other country.

David Quinlan

UK 2021. UK Distributor: LionsGate. Colour by Panalux.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 15 Dec 2021