Saturday, December 14, 2019

Your struggle review – Jessica Hynes boxes clever in punchy drama


Everybody remembers being bullied at college, but nobody remembers as being a bully. That maxim occurred to me during this stark, sober, flawed movie by which Jessica Hynes makes her worthwhile debut as writer-director. It is like a very personal film, well acted by way of the A-list cast that Hynes has assembled: a cathartic meditation on the need to heal, the requirement to confront folks that do wrong and to confront yourself when you’ve done wrong.

Hynes stars as Tina, a care-home nurse using an unhappy relationship together elderly parents, strongly and sympathetically played by Anita Dobson and Christopher Fairbank; Shaun Parkes comes with a warm and likable performance as Tina’s partner, Mick. Their sensitive daughter Emma (Sennia Nanua) is being bullied at college by a girl called Jordan (Liv Hill), whose apparently charmless, hardbitten mum Amanda (Rhona Mitra) knew Tina every time they were teenagers years ago and after this seems set on pursuing an unpleasant like-mother-like-daughter vendetta against her outside the school gates.

Yet things are much more complicated compared to what they at first appear. Tina knows this wounderful woman has in order to manage approximately them. And exactly how does she try this? Through up boxing. The fierce coach (Cathy Tyson) gets her to toughen up, and Hynes gets to be Rocky-style training montage. But is boxing the correct answer for Tina, literally or metaphorically? When Tina refers to her emotional and family problems, Mick replies: “Boxing’s not visiting help with that -“

It’s an affordable point. Is definitely the cultivation of focused aggression and violence really going to tackle the complex problems here? I am not entirely sure. But Hynes is very good in the boxing scenes. She looks convincing as someone recovering from the ring and happier and much more confident outside it. She will be a really strong screen presence.

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