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Introducing a new mega-star: Jessica Brown Findlay. Some films are
destined to remain in the shadows of the stars they create. Albatross
is one of those films.
The story follows Emelia, a rebellious, seductive and intelligent teenager played by Brown Findlay. Taking a job as a cleaner at a guest house, Emelia befriends the teen daughter of the house, begins an affair with the husband and gets scowled at by the wife and mother of the family who live there.
Alternating between comedy and drama, the film has an awkward tone. The writer Tamzin Rafn claims it was written as a comedy but there are only occasional really funny moments. Instead, it is the drama that is more gripping with a range of characters who are trapped in miserable lives in a beautiful but dead-end location. Filmed with a great eye for scenery on the breathtaking coast of the Isle of Man by director of photography Jan Jonaeus, the narrative takes in the kids on the beaches, the family in the guest house and most notably Emelia and new friend Beth. But these disparate people all appear confined and resigned to unfulfilling and disappointing existences.
Emelia's snarky way with words brightens and amuses what could be a depressing film. There are laughs to be had and there is hope for a better life for many of the characters, but the film is dealing with some serious issues like Alzheimer's, suicide and unfulfilled potential. Perhaps director Niall MacCormick saw an opportunity to inject more drama into what could have been a fluffier lightweight British comedy and went for it.
The cast are all excellent, Sebastan Koch all guilty nervous ticks, Julia Ormond neglected, spiteful and probably the saddest character in the story. But Felicity Jones and Jessica Brown Findlay carry the weight of the film and are believable opposites, angel and devil, bookworm and loose cannon. Brown Findlay particularly shines with comic delivery of vicious put-downs but also scenes of more hefty emotional weight. It is the moments spent with Emelia's grand parents that help to explain the actions of this troubled young woman and will keep audiences sympathising with what could have been a one-dimensional typical teen tearaway.
See it for the scenery, the performances and for the drama. Witness the making of a star! Writer Tamzin Rafn and star Jessica Brown Findlay attended a screening and answered questions from the assembled audience on Monday (03/10/11) night. Thanks to LoveFilm as always for another great opportunity to hear from the people involved.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Now and again a quiet little British movie pops up to remind us just
how well the Brits know how to mix comedy and compassion. Such is the
case with ALBATROSS, a gentle, sensitive tale written by Tazmin Rafn
and directed by Niall MacCormick about a social misfit who imposes
herself on a family in desperate need of a wakeup call. The film is
blessed with a very fine cast (especially the blossoming of young
actress Jessica Brown Findlay - remembered for her ongoing impressive
role as Lady Sybil in 'Downton Abbey') and for the breathtaking scenery
of the Isle of Man. There is comedy here to be sure but here are other
lessons about family and friendship and relationships that are
importantly placed in perspective.
Cliff House is the Bed and Breakfast run by a dysfunctional family: the bitter mother Joa (Julia Ormond), her writer's block housebound husband Jonathan (Sebastian Koch) who wrote a book Cliff House 10 years ago and nothing since, bookish teenager Beth (Felicity Jones) and young Posy (Katie Overd). Into their lives pops Emelia, a rebellious, seductive and intelligent teenager whose sole claim to fame is her apparent ancestor Arthur Conan Doyle (she dreams of becoming a writer to carry on her legacy). Emelia takes a job as a cleaner at the B&B, befriends Beth - drawing her out of her mousy self perception in to the throes of early adulthood, begins an affair with Jonathan and gets scowled at by Joa. Emelia's only living family (her mother committed suicide recently) are her grandparents - Granny (Hazel Douglas) suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and Grandpa (the always superb actor Peter Vaughan - for whom she holds deep affection and caring.
Beth is due to travel to Oxford for interview and despite the misgivings of Joa and the now lovesick Jonathan, Emelia accompanies Beth to the interview, there discovering the wilds of being raw and naughty. Upon return matters change: Granny dies, Emelia grieves, the affair between Emelia and Jonathan becomes open, and everything must change. The albatross of the title refers to the baggage each character carries, not just Emelia's name legacy The depth of friendships are tested - and survive.
Without exception the cast is first rate - Ormond and Koch are already established stars and Jessica Brown Findlay and Felicity Jones prove they are on their way to become very important actresses. This is a beautiful little film to watch and to think about. It is a first class little Indie.
A fabulous pastry pleases all your senses and leaves you with a bit of chocolate on your lip and wanting more. I gorged on this one. But there's more to be said for this movie. It takes a clever but easily clichéd story line and spins it out so freshly creative it makes your face hurt from smiling. And all the moguls with the money should line up to honor Jessica Brown-Findlay who took a cleverly written part and turned it into an award winning performance. But I must be honest and say that the TR-2 might have influenced me. When I was 16, I lusted for a bright red version on the showroom floor in upstate New York. How much better can you make a movie for a 71 year old incurable romantic who can still remember what lust is all about.
Jessica Findlay Brown, who is starting to make a name for herself by
shining in Downton Abbey is a truly sensational young actress who
people should certainly keep an eye on, give it a few years and she'll
be everywhere I suspect. Albatross is a film which kind of reminded me
of another British film of late, Tamara Drewe, the plot line of both
ate very similar, but this film has a great drama and family aspect to
it also, that's not to say it's not funny either because it is. The
film starts off somewhat confusing, you don't know where it's headed
but it's not long til you get the hang of the direction and you just
enjoy the ride, the story is about a social misfit who imposes herself
on a family in desperate need of a kick start, she befriends the
teenage daughter, wonderfully played by the luminous Felicity Jones,
starts a brief affair with the father and comes head to head with the
high strung mother. The affair plot line is what reminds me of Tamara
Drewe, this is the plot line I found the least interesting but hey the
movie has so many great scenes it's hard not to enjoy.
The performances are pretty good all round, Brown and Jones are the standouts though, I did find the Julia Ormond character to be an absolute annoyance, and somehow I think the character would have been different if played by a nicer actress, I'm not saying she's not good but I'd rather see someone else in this role.
This really is Jessica Findlay-Brown's film all the way, she owns every scene she is in, she steals the show all the way through, the film is just give or take, it's not gonna change your life but you aren't going to hate it either, it will sure brighten up your day though. And as I said, keep your eye on Brown, I bet she's the next big thing. :)
I watched this film without any expectations, in the end, I got exactly
what I wanted. Albatross might not be a masterpiece but it certainly
has become one of my favorites. I wonder why Comedy isn't added in this
film's genre 'cause I found most of the dialogues comical.
As everyone saying, there is no exaggeration about Jessica Brown Findlay's acting, she was adorable and the other characters including 12 year old and old guys acted very fine.
Humans make mistakes but realizing those and not repeating them is the important part. If you find someone feeling very low then you say any random thing just to cheer him up. Similarly, sometimes our parents lie to us too, not with the intention to hurt us but to inspire us and make us discover the hidden talents within. This is what I understood from the film.
So, I give this movie 10 out of 10 'cause I totally loved it.
There are some characters in this film, there really are, and they are
all so very different, and, at the same time, very alike. Emilia, at
times quite brilliantly played by Jessica Brown Findlay, is the
superficially confident teen who commands the scene and will not be put
down easily. Beth, well played by Felicity Jones, is the girl who likes
the rebel instinct of Emilia, but is waiting on a place at Oxford. The
two girls, and their families, live in a fictitious English south coast
town. Beth's parents own a hotel/guest house proceeds from the only
book her father has successfully authored. There is much friction
between Beth's parents.
The plot develops around the friendship between Emilia and Beth, and then between Emilia and Beth's father, and takes us down a number of diversionary routes until we get to the revelations that make the story tie up its loose ends.
Not entirely satisfactory or convincing as a film but it has some promising acting from its younger stars. Well worth a rental.
This film depicts a dysfunctional family owning a Bed and Breakfast
house in a coastal British town. The father wrote a wildly successful
novel many years ago, and the family lives off his early success. He
has had writer's block for quite some time since.
His wife resents him and maybe even hates him. Is it because he is still the star and she gave up her acting career to be his wife? What a b-word! She ought to be thankful for whatever good has come their way.
So what if he hasn't done much since his novel? He is still the husband and the dad, and his money afforded a comfortable lifestyle. If there is something about him that his wife and daughter resent, let's here what it is, besides his writer's block. I need a clear explanation.
We do see a glimpse of it late in the film, when he verbalizes the fact that he doesn't really respect his daughter's blandness, so maybe I am overlooking that.
Yes, like other reviewers have stated, that Jessica Brown has talent, and will undoubtedly have some future acting success, or popularity. She pulled off a character with at least two dimensions, and did it well.
Even if his wife wasn't such a "shrew," as they called her during the film, it is hard for a man to resist the attention of a young, adoring woman, as they aptly depict here. A little attention, gives him the self-esteem needed to rouse him out of his funk. I can relate.
This is definitely not a comedy. It is a coming-of-age film first and a mid-life crisis film secondly. Good scenery, poignant interaction between grandparents and granddaughter, and just the right amount of comedy and sex.
..I just wanted to jump on the Jessica Brown-Findlay bandwagon here as her performance was beyond amazing...it's not often you are able to witness that special moment when you just know that the young actress you are watching is most certainly destined to become a major star...such is the case with Jessica Brown-Findlay in Albatross...not only does she steal the film and every scene in which she appears, she complete enchants and beguiles you with her charm,wit,charisma and screen presence. Her power is such that without her, this would have been a typical coming of age story of young girl/woman....she single-handedly captures your undivided attention, inspires your romantic fascination with youth, beauty, and a vitality & passion for living life to the fullest...I challenge any male from 18 to 80 not to fall at least a little in love with her...must see!
Emelia Conan Doyle (Jessica Brown Findlay) claims to be a descendant of
the great writer Arthur Conan Doyle. She takes a cleaning job at a
seaside hotel owned by Jonathan Fischer (Sebastian Koch). He's
struggling with writer's block and holed up in the attic. He has
combative wife Joa (Julia Ormond), bookish daughter Beth (Felicity
Jones), and six year old Posy. Emelia befriends Beth who is applying
for Oxford. Emelia claims to be a writer but she can't live up to her
family name. As Jonathan mentors her, they begin an affair.
Jessica Brown Findlay and Felicity Jones are both lovely although this movie may be better if there is a darker, sexier edge. This plays more like a light relationship drama. The story suggests an eroticism that this movie does not have despite Findlay flashing her boobs comically. There is a darker edge that nobody is able to deliver other than Ormond. The story, the performances, and the tone don't completely click.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film isn't a stinker, far from it. I was entertained. It was
professionally made. Visually it was lovely and the performances were
fine but something still grated with me.
For example can someone please tell me why does Emelia start an affair with Jonathan? He's not charming or wealthy, he's boring, has let his looks fade, he's lazy and stuck in the past and it turns out he can't even provide good sex! And don't say the little white sports car; this girl is drawn as too ballsy to fall for that. Yet this vivacious beautiful young woman greets his first advances seemingly with an almost casual: 'yeah alright then.'
Let's go through the possibilities:
Starved of male company no she has a boyfriend her own age and almost as feckless as she is.
It's a 'The hand that rocks the cradle' plot line obviously not as the story pans out differently.
She's looking for a father figure after losing hers at a young age possibly but aren't these relationships born out of love, admiration, respect? How can you respect someone who on first meeting you catch them masturbating? In fact he has no redeeming qualities at all until almost the last scene in the film. Couldn't he at least of been charming? Bit of a cliché I know but it would understandable why she fell for him. (Is fell the right word? Because she didn't really - she just progressed into having an affair.)
So if it not clear why she does this, then the rest of the film will go about telling you right? No not to me, but if it's there and I missed it I apologise. As far as I can see the story proceeds traditionally, both young girls absorbing each other's worlds and developing because of it.
The only conclusion I can come to is that it was prerequisite to have negative male characters throughout the film and boy have we got a few. From the pedantic and sleazy room guests to the arrogant snobbish undergraduate there is isn't one positive male character, save Emelia's Grandfather who isn't a central figure and is he really positive? Colluding in the great deception that eventually shatters her bond with her best friend?
I'm interested to find out whether the original script contained the elements above that I'm whining about or had to be inserted, at the producer's request (in order to find an audience), during the 'development' stage.
This is one of the problems facing the British film industry they don't have the luxury of simply telling a good engrossing story they have to try and guarantee an audience to backers by aiming it fairly and squarely at a specific audience. What's that I hear? All movie makers have to find an audience. Very true but as many fine film makers have demonstrated you can find an audience without spoiling the story and pandering to needs of a select group.
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