Set at the end of the '60s, as Swaziland is about to receive independence from Great Britain, the film follows the young Ralph Compton, at 12, through his parents' traumatic separation, ...
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The rise of national socialism in Germany should not be regarded as a conspiracy of madmen. Millions of "good" people found themselves in a society spiralling into terrible chaos. A film about then, which illuminates the terrors of now.
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A drama exploring the romantic past and emotional present of Ann Grant and her daughters, Constance and Nina. As Ann lays dying, she remembers, and is moved to convey to her daughters, the defining moments in her life 50 years prior, when she was a young woman. Harris is the man Ann loves in the 1950s and never forgets.
Set at the end of the '60s, as Swaziland is about to receive independence from Great Britain, the film follows the young Ralph Compton, at 12, through his parents' traumatic separation, till he's 14. It is written and directed by Richard E Grant, and based on true events from Richard E Grant's childhood. Written by
Well-paced ensemble multi-layered but 'old-fashioned' movie
It was fairly brave of Richard E Grant to 'come out' as a director when acting would be such a secure option for him; particularly now as the role of director, especially of relatively small independent films such as this, involves all the hustling traditionally taken care of by the producer. Although he has been low-profile as an actor for some time, paying the rent by sticking to supporting roles ( lots of them, though), at the same time he has been fighting to get this semi-autobiographical saga up to the screen. A look at a disintegrating family could be set anywhere, but this is specific to Swaziland, where the collapse of the British Empire and the end of Deference mirror the uncertainties of young Ralph Compton's life. As a little boy (Zachary Fox) he finds himself in the back seat while his mother has it off with her husband's best friend; then as an adolescent rebel (Nicholas Hoult of 'About a Boy') he has to cope with mum's desertion and dad's alcoholism while discovering 'A Clockwork Orange' and experimenting with becoming a droog. There are so many concurrent plots that every time you think, Ah, so it's that kind of film, the layers shift again. Coming-of-age, end-of-empire, adults being stupid and cruel, the class system and white supremacy turning sclerotic; these elements weave and thrust against the African landscape and inbred British colonialism. This is the world that the kids will inherit. Celia Imrie and Fenella Woolgar are a joy to watch as they 'do' the snooty dames with such natural outraged dignity, but the surprise is to see the so-English Emily Watson make such a convincing low-class Manhattanite. The old ways are going out the window, serenaded as they go by the kind of lush, romantic soundtrack that also had had its time, and adds another taste of verisimilitude. Comparisons are useful, not odious, and it's fair to relate this kind of breathless well-paced ensemble production to Altman. One last touch of the Old Ways: it stops when it gets to the ... CLIFF HANLEY
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