Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Catherine Tate, Sophie Okonedo, Tom Hardy
Director: Ed Blum
What do couples talk about when they sit around in parks in warm pleasant weather? I’m sure that you have probably unexpectedly overheard everything from moans of satisfaction, loud crying sounds, to intimate whispers and giggles in many a park that you may have strolled through.
Set on the famous Hampstead Heath Park in London this quintessentially English film explores seven couples as they while away the long summer afternoon. Filmed in a non-linear pattern it switches from couple to couple with amusing and intriguing effect, successfully avoiding any average romantically themed comedy/drama cliches it handles divorce, sexual yearnings, lost loves, blind dates, yearnings for kids and of course the holy grail for every aspiring Don Juan De Marco, the attempt to chat up some random woman.
Despite its constant switching from couple to couple it is still pleasantly uncomplicated enough for you to simply enjoy the skill of the acting and how the characters and their stories blend into their individual segments of the park with perfect symmetry.
One standout scene has Tom Hardy’s character attempting to chat up Sophie Okonedo’s character with initially disastrous results, with her asking him to leave her alone. His response is to sit down next to her, cross his legs, close his eyes and meditate! When she asks him what he thinks he’s doing, he promptly tells her to stop disturbing him because she’s f***ing up his CHI! Absolutely hilarious!
This is the feature film directorial debut for Ed Blum who takes inspiration from films like BEFORE SUNSET and BEFORE SUNRISE amongst others, and with the writing talents of Aschlin Ditta who does the writing for THE CATHERINE TATE SHOW. For a debut and indeed for a simple idea the result in my opinion is a great little film. Yes it could have done with perhaps more exploration of certain characters but I don’t think that is what the writer and director wanted to concentrate on. So for some uncomplicated fun, especially for couples or people who have experienced the ups and downs of being in a couple, this should be worth your while!