98 minutes| U.K.| 2011| Colour| D-Cinema

A mesmerising chronicler of his own troubled personal biography, director Terence Davies finds his sensibility a surprisingly complementary match for this late Terence Rattigan play, which traces the arid emotional landscape of a post-war Britain still scarred by the conflict.

Rachel Weisz brings an affecting vulnerability to the heroine who has so much more passion than those around her, as a suicide attempt in the full-on opening scene prompts us to piece together the fragments of her past. Simon Russell Beale is sterling indeed as her dull-stick QC hubby, while Tom Hiddleston proves dashing yet somehow remote as the former RAF pilot who steals her heart and ignites her sexuality.

Partly as a result of the modest budget, the film is a claustrophobic affair, yet that suits the material, and Davies brings to it qualities that relatively few other filmmakers can – an essential feeling for having lived through the period himself, plus the cinematic vision to put it across. It’s affecting and authentic. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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