Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Hope Gap : when his parents marriage ends Jaime is expected to fix things


Hope Gap is based on the real story of the childhood of writer/director William Nicholson . He had first written it in the form of a play The Retreat from Moscow which went on to win 3 Tony Award Nominations on Broadway. The latter seems very surprising watching the movie adaptation which is now a very low-key English drama that too often verges on being tedious.

Its the story of how Nicolson’s parents marriage fell part after 30 years and how his mother could not accept her husband’s sudden departure and the idea of now being totally alone.

The setting is a nice quiet middle-class small English seaside town where Edward (Bill Nighy) teaches history at the local high school whilst Grace (Annette Bening) his stay-at-home obsessed wife spends her days working on an anthology.  Grace lets her frustration with her life out on Edward by continually nagging him and also demanding that he makes more of an effort in put some life back into their stagnant marriage,

Their only son, 20-something-year old Jaime (Josh O’Connor) lives a solitary life in his small apartment in London and rarely goes home for a visit.  This weekend he is making an exception at the request of his father, little knowing that he had an ulterior motive. Edward had planned to tell Grace that he had met anther woman and so he was moving out, and he wanted Jaime there to pick up the pieces when the melodramatic Grace fell apart.

As neutral as Jamie is about his parents, he is sadly the punch back for Grace’s anger as now that Edward is physically out of reach she needs an outlet for  her seeming endless outbursts of recrimination and hate.

As much as Nicholson seems to have underwritten Edward’s part really giving him little to do and say, he has also written the part of Grace  with little subtlety and far too much confession for us to really warm to her.  It would seem natural that we would want to emphasize with her as the one who has been left, and despite having the extremely talented Bening in the role, we just couldn’t feel  that for her.

It is O’Connor (who won Awards and hearts in God’s Own Country) who steals the picture as young Jaime who couldn’t succeed in having his own relationship, but is now being expected to be the  glue in his parents.  It is an impossible task.

Hope Gap is a familiar story about a marriage falling apart when the romantic spark is replaced by disdain.   However it would probably have been better in the hands of a bi-partisan director  who could make us actually feel sympathetic with more than just Jaime.

Posted by queerguru  at  14:53


Genres:  drama

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