Director: William Nicholson
Cast: Annette Bening, Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor, Aiysha Hart, Ryan McKen, Steven Pacey, Nicholas Burns
Synopsis: Grace and Edward, married for 29 years, live in a small seaside town near a cove under the cliffs called Hope Gap. When their son Jamie comes to visit for the weekend, Edward informs him that he plans to leave Grace, that same day.
Director, playwright-screenwriter William Nicholson with Hope Gap has adapted his own stage play The Retreat from Moscow (1999) in which a family deals with the aftermath of the shock revelation that a husband plans to end his 29-year marriage to his wife.
The intimate, intense and loving story charts the life of Grace (Annette Bening), shocked to learn her husband, Edward (Bill Nighy) is leaving her for another woman, and the ensuing emotional fallout the dissolution has on their only grown son, Jamie (Josh O’Connor).
Annette Bening gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the abandoned wife, embittered and hostile. She is mesmerising as the once-happy wife unravelling and feeling displaced in her small seaside town. Bill Nighy is similarly brilliant as the husband who appears frozen and frustrated by his own inability to move on when he is obviously miserable.
Josh O’Connor as Jamie is honest and moving as the son who is being used as a buffer by his father, while traumatised by worries about his own personal relationships.
Cinematography by Anna Valdez Hanks is clear and cool, perfectly capturing the tones and light of the British seaside, with suitably emotional music by Alex Heffes.
Despite the downbeat subject matter and tone, Hope Gap is finally uplifting, as the poetry-loving Grace ultimately regains her footing and discovers a new, powerful voice.
In cinemas and streaming on Curzon Home Cinema.
Images courtesy of: Curzon Artificial Eye