21 January 1999 | ginty
A playful, charming film, but it is no masterpiece.
God on the Rocks is a film of contrasts and contradictions. It is set in a 1930s English seaside town and is seen through the eyes of Margaret Marsh (Rebecca Edwards), a young girl who's father (Bill Paterson) is a strict, blood and thunder lay preacher. The Marsh family's world is turned upside down with the arrival of the new housemaid Lydia (Mini Driver); a voluptuous, promiscuous young woman, who's hedonistic outlook on life horrifies Mrs Marsh, delights and disgusts Margaret and intrigues Mr Marsh. The preacher takes it upon himself to deliver Lydia from her sins, in the process, causing the rest of the family to look at themselves in a new light.
The film deals with duality: saints and sinners, the innocent and the complicit, the loyal and the fickle. Flecked with film-school symbolism and lazy comedy, the picture never really rises above the mediocre. It does, however, posses a playful charm coupled with a subtle sexual tension.
The film is beautifully shot on location in the English town of Saltburn-on-Sea and contains fine acting performances from Driver, Edwards and Paterson, but ultimately, it is tainted by a hurried ending. Although billed as a comedy, don't expect your sides to split.