Frances Lea's low budget movie 'Strawberry Fields' is beautifully filmed, and she has also chosen a cast with very interesting faces: Anna Madely reminds me of Katlin Cartlidge, while Christine Bottomley's visage is attractive but somehow intrinsically Machiavellian. The story is one of young people with 'nothing else to do', to quote Jarvis Cocker: there's a lot of sex, violence and intoxication going on here. In fact, the social dynamic of this group of fruit-pickers (hence the film's title) is not quite convincing: we're introduced to the set-up with a line that sounds like a carbon copy of Obi-Wan Kenobi's introduction to Mos-Eisely!, and the strange relationship between the two sisters at the heart of the story is beguiling but never completely explained. In part, this is because what's "real" is not absolute, even to the characters themselves; but it makes it hard to get a sense of what's really at stake, and the movie itself is too kind on Emun Elliott's male lead, who viewed rationally has no redeeming qualities. To be frank, this film is not utterly convincing as narrative or a piece of social realism; but it's a dreamy, evocative and quite distinctive portrait of a summer of "love" on England's south coast.
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