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#TIFF19 Review: Hope Gap (Special Presentations)

September 8, 2019

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Grace (Annette Bening) and Edward (Bill Nighy) are an old married couple who bicker constantly, but have stayed together for over thirty years. Edward is very quiet, and Grace is neurotic by nature, which makes their relationship somewhat volatile. In her attempts to elicit the sort of emotional responses from him that she craves, Grace often chews out her husband, and even resorts to physical violence, as he stands idly by not wanting to further rock the boat.

When their young adult son, Jamie (Josh O’Connor), returns home to visit from London, Edward drops a bombshell; he intends to leave Grace that afternoon and go to live with another woman, and wants Jamie there to help pick up the pieces. While Edward happily goes to pursue his new life, Grace is left devastated, and has an increasingly hard time accepting the breakup, despite the fact that her and Edward were clearly wrong for each other.

Written and directed by William Nicholson, who based the story on his own parents, Hope Gap is the sort of film that gets by almost entirely on its performances. Bening and Nighy are both quite good in their own ways, bringing interesting shades to their very different characters, with O’Connor portraying their son as a mixture of his parents. The screenplay features a few insights, but the dialogue is also a bit too on the nose at times. This is a fine but somewhat unremarkable portrait of a disintegrating marriage, that feels conventional in its construction but is elevated by its central trio of performances.

Annette Bening in Hope Gap

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 6th – 9:15 PM at Princess of Wales

Saturday, September 7th – 11:15 AM at Winter Garden Theatre

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