Hope Gap (12A) – Cambridge Film Festival
Writer-director William Nicholson’s Hope Gap focuses on the sudden breakdown of a marriage when Edward (Bill Nighy) leaves Grace (Annette Bening).
Set on the Sussex coast, with huge cliffs and cold seas as a metaphor for the chasm that has opened up in their lives, Edward enlists their son Jamie to check on her.
Recriminations follow, though mostly between Grace and her son (Edward having made it clear there’s no going back).
Often, if you simply listened, it comes across as a radio play, and being like a play might be the intention, but Hope Gap comes across as stuffy and worthy.
There’s nothing wrong with being more cerebral than the average relationship breakdown movie, and Nicholson is very even-handed in the struggles each half of the fractured couple face; but, despite ample characterisation, there’s a lack of empathy evoked for either Grace, Edward, or their son Jamie.
Bening and Nighy give thoughtful, considerate performances, but Hope Gap features too many missed opportunities.
The festival runs until 24 October cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk