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There's little wonder in the working-class lives of Bill, Eileen, and their three grown daughters. They're lonely Londoners. Nadia, a cafe waitress, places personal ads, looking for love; Debbie, a single mom, entertains men at the hair salon after hours; her son spends part of the weekend with her ex, a man with a hair-trigger temper. Molly is expecting her first baby and the child's father acts as if the responsibility is too much for him. Eileen is bitter, complaining about her husband and the dog next door; Bill's a doormat. His West Indian neighbor offers him a drink; her own grown son locks himself in his room most of the time. Will anyone connect during this Guy Fawkes weekend?Written by
I Close My Eyes and I Count to Ten
Written by Clive Westlake
Performed by Dusty Springfield
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited (London)
Published by Carlin Music Corporation
Licensed by kind permission from Polymedia Film & TV Licensing UK, a Universal Music Company See more »
The city of London has featured in innumerable films - a vast, intensely varied metropolis, it has served as a vivid backdrop countless times. From the sun-drenched banks of the Thames in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' to the gloomy squalor of Camden Town in 'Withnail & I' it is always an interesting setting for a story. But in 'Wonderland', directed by Michael Winterbottom ('Jude', 'Welcome to Sarajevo'), it almost gains a life of its own.
Superficially a story of the day-to-day lives of three sisters, Wonderland is more about the city and the millions of people who live in it than the troubled family the plot centres on. They are Nadia (Gina McKee), a single woman desperately in search of friendship and romance, Debbie (Shirley Henderson), a single mother with a young son (Peter Marfleet) and Molly (Molly Parker), a pregnant woman whose husband (John Simm) is having doubts.
The camera follows them (mostly Nadia) as they travel through the busy streets of the capital. It does not concentrate on just the characters, often lingering on faces and groups, giving the film a real-life edge. This is added to by the hand-held camera work and the slightly grainy quality of the image, which is as though a much larger picture has been magnified to concentrate on these people.
The stories themselves are uniformly (and depressingly) realistic, although they all end on a high note, leaving the viewer surprisingly upbeat. Winterbottom has a knack of coaxing great performances from good actors and does not fail here, with the quietly miserable couple of Kika Markham and Jack Shepherd as the sisters' parents standing out.
Wonderland will never break any box office records and is certainly not flawless, but it is an admirable film and it warms the cockles of this reviewer to see such worthy films still being made in Britain.
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