Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between miniDV footage as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't.
"Calum" (Paul Mescal) and his daughter "Sophie" (Frankie Corio) head off for a holiday in Turkey. Initially their experience reminded me of "Carry on Abroad" (1972) with the usual building works and booking errors, but soon they settle into a comfortable poolside routine and we begin to learn a little about the dynamic between father and daughter. The occasional conversation with their absent mother tells us the parents are no longer together and a series of ongoing vacation activities paired with brief flashbacks from the adult "Sophie" help us to follow the young girl's attempts to get to know her father better - and he, her - as they relax in the sunshine. This features a strong and confident performance from the young Corio and there is an engaging familial dynamic here between the two. His character is protective but indulgent, her's independent and curious - and auteur Charlotte Wells allows their characterisations to develop for us in a well paced, considered fashion. Nothing really happens here - and yet so much does with their relationship and their respective maturity. It has a realism to it - there are no "jump" moments as such, it's about evolution and both have plenty of scope for that. I am not sure it really needs to be seen at a cinema, but it is certainly worth watching when it hits the smaller screen.
I was pulled into watching this movie by the high ratings it received rather than the plot or the performers. So I find myself in the weird position of wondering if I am a bit thick and just didn’t “get it.” For to me the movie was a mess. There were some striking scenes and fine acting, but it all seemed disjointed and confused to me. Between shaky camera syndrome and recurring flashing images that meant nothing to me, I lost the thread of the story Betony the obvious, which was showing the ongoing interaction between father and daughter. Several of the quiet scenes seemed to trail off and take on the appearance of a still life picture, and then suddenly we are in the next scene, Wait, what was the previous scene all about? There were a few hints alluding to the father’s melancholy state of mind and where it might have led him (since we were not told explicitly) and those scenes should have been critical ones driving the plot and the mood of the story. But they felt like they were offered just as sidebar information.
This is about an important topic in today's world - unrecognized mental health issues. First, let me say that the acting is tremendous. Paul Mescal did an awesome job of portraying the silence of depression. Even Frankie impressed me, like another Ana Paquin. This is a powerful story that clearly mirrors the unanswered questions in the life of auteur Charlotte Wells. This film has been added to my movie list "Directors About Themselves". https://letterboxd.com/sirlaffalot/list/directors-about-themselves/ I was really only not pleased with the introduction of Older Sophie's domestic life. We don't learn anything about them and it leaves a hole in the overall script.