6 October 2011 | pturner1010
The birth of another British star
Introducing a new mega-star: Jessica Brown Findlay. Some films are destined to remain in the shadows of the stars they create. Albatross is one of those films.
The story follows Emelia, a rebellious, seductive and intelligent teenager played by Brown Findlay. Taking a job as a cleaner at a guest house, Emelia befriends the teen daughter of the house, begins an affair with the husband and gets scowled at by the wife and mother of the family who live there.
Alternating between comedy and drama, the film has an awkward tone. The writer Tamzin Rafn claims it was written as a comedy but there are only occasional really funny moments. Instead, it is the drama that is more gripping with a range of characters who are trapped in miserable lives in a beautiful but dead-end location. Filmed with a great eye for scenery on the breathtaking coast of the Isle of Man by director of photography Jan Jonaeus, the narrative takes in the kids on the beaches, the family in the guest house and most notably Emelia and new friend Beth. But these disparate people all appear confined and resigned to unfulfilling and disappointing existences.
Emelia's snarky way with words brightens and amuses what could be a depressing film. There are laughs to be had and there is hope for a better life for many of the characters, but the film is dealing with some serious issues like Alzheimer's, suicide and unfulfilled potential. Perhaps director Niall MacCormick saw an opportunity to inject more drama into what could have been a fluffier lightweight British comedy and went for it.
The cast are all excellent, Sebastan Koch all guilty nervous ticks, Julia Ormond neglected, spiteful and probably the saddest character in the story. But Felicity Jones and Jessica Brown Findlay carry the weight of the film and are believable opposites, angel and devil, bookworm and loose cannon. Brown Findlay particularly shines with comic delivery of vicious put-downs but also scenes of more hefty emotional weight. It is the moments spent with Emelia's grand parents that help to explain the actions of this troubled young woman and will keep audiences sympathising with what could have been a one-dimensional typical teen tearaway.
See it for the scenery, the performances and for the drama. Witness the making of a star! Writer Tamzin Rafn and star Jessica Brown Findlay attended a screening and answered questions from the assembled audience on Monday (03/10/11) night. Thanks to LoveFilm as always for another great opportunity to hear from the people involved.