Pain and mental illness rarely equals a film with charm to burn. Leave it to the Brits to accomplish just that. They know how to do charm. To top it off the story is set in the 1980s so you get things in the background like pay phones along with the very distinctive clothing of the era. Despite the sometimes darker material everything surrounding it is totally enjoyable.
Suffering from depression and schizophrenia after being left at the altar, Jane (Morfydd Clark – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Love & Friendship) is going through what anyone would describe as a rough patch. Mood swings and hearing voices make her behaviour erratic. The fact that her mother Vivian (Penelope Wilton – Match Point, Shaun of the Dead) and her sister Nicola (Billie Piper – from television’s Doctor Who) are not very nice to her. The only person on her side is her other sister Alice (Alice Lowe – Hot Fuzz, Paddington). So she is put somewhere for treatment.
While there she (Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water, Blue Jasmine) eventually meets another patient named Mike (David Thewlis – Wonder Woman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2), who has feelings for her and makes that crystal clear. David is someone who wanted to be a musician, but that did not work out. They bond over their losses. Soon that bond evolves into love.
Quirky that is the movie. Made totally enjoyable by another delicate and nuanced performance by Sally Hawkins. The woman is a great actress. She knows how to bring to life characters like Jane. Fragile and odd, but lovable. Not to diminish the playing of this type of character, but Hawkins has another layer to Jane. Her befuddling and confused world. A world that largely happened inside her own head. Her own mind drives her mad. Through her deft skill Hawkins will accomplish the opening of your heart and mind.
The story is a warm and comedic one which is a strange thing to say about a film which will at times be dark and break your heart. A completely original way to deal with mental health issues.