Paul Pavlikovsky’s follow-up to 2002’s Last Resort is also carefree and similarly anchored by the remarkable performances of its two leads. Working-class Mona (Nathalie Press, whose intense gaze threatens to burn a hole right through the screen) meets rich Tasmin (Emily Blunt) in the Yorkshire countryside. They quickly become friends, swapping sordid family secrets before reaching for each other’s cooters, promising to never leave each other at the risk of blood being spilt. Their budding relationship is tenderly conveyed but the plot soon takes on predictable antagonistic paths. Lured into Tasmin’s bourgeois abode like some donkey being led by a carrot tied to a stick, Mona is the downtrodden underclassman here and her social status alone seems to be Pavlikovsky’s excuse for why her affections are more genuine, or, at the very least, more long-lasting than Tasmin’s. Keepin’ it real, so to speak, which is why when Mona’s brother, Phil (Paddy Considine), locks her in her room she takes to drawing images of Tasmin on the wall so she can have something to smooch. As the West Hot Lesbian Summer plotline advances, so does the spiritual agenda of Mona’s brother, a born again Christian actively building a cross if for no other reason than to martyr his sister. Phil’s characterization as a Jesus freak isn’t condescending per se, simply glib and context-free; in this way, the film isn’t so much heavy-handed as it is empty-handed. Pavlikovsky’s conflates Mona’s sexual escapades with Phil’s spiritual crisis, a loosely assembled synthesis with very little rewards. One could say, then, that the film, like its character’s needs and desires, is simply a passing phase.
- Paul Pavlikovsky
- Paul Pavlikovsky
- Nathalie Press, Emily Blunt, Paddy Considine, Dean Andrews
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