A perfectly pitched film of loneliness and failed escape
It's a while since I saw it, but this fine film demands someone's comment. Edith Hope (Massey) attempts exile from a failing affair, and from her loneliness, in that quintessential place of exile, a Swiss lakeside hotel. But the other residents, ridiculous and sad, only compound her isolation, revealing the emptiness of disengagement. Flashbacks to her affair in London have a colour and vibrancy that startle in their contrast with Hope's melancholy quiet in Switzerland. Hope must return, without hope, and face the reality of her life in England, no matter how painful. The acting is immaculate: Massey plain and still, passion hidden deep within her; Elliott in a typical role of wise counsel; Julia McKenzie as the absurd lubricious vulgarian, they and the rest of the cast all deliver perfectly pitched performances. Quiet and introverted, accurately reflecting Anita Brookner's novel, this is a very English film and about as good as an English film gets.
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