Review: ‘Some Kind of Life’

Diminutive British thesp Jane Horrocks walks tall in "Some Kind of Love," a small-scale but achingly true telepic about a young wife whose marriage is turned upside down when her spouse is brain-damaged in a road accident. Though theatrical biz is out of the question, this first telepic by the film arm of veteran U.K. regional broadcaster Granada should be well appreciated by festival auds in search of quality English contempo dramas.

Diminutive British thesp Jane Horrocks walks tall in “Some Kind of Love,” a small-scale but achingly true telepic about a young wife whose marriage is turned upside down when her spouse is brain-damaged in a road accident. Though theatrical biz is out of the question, this first telepic by the film arm of veteran U.K. regional broadcaster Granada should be well appreciated by festival auds in search of quality English contempo dramas.

For offshore viewers unacquainted with Horrocks’ legit work, and familiar only with her goofy characters in “Absolutely Fabulous” or Mike Leigh’s “Life Is Sweet,” her performance here will surprise and delight. There’s a depth to her playing that doesn’t rely on mannerisms or verbal contortions, and a warm vulnerability that fits the subject matter to a T.

Horrocks plays Alison, an average twentysomething housewife who has a loving hubby, Steve (Ray Stevenson), and a young sprig. Hospitalized after a motorbike crash, Steve regresses to an emotional age of about 5. Thereafter, Alison’s life becomes, in her own words, “like having two children and no husband.”

Tensions with Steve’s overprotective mother (Gwen Taylor) don’t help, and even Steve’s best buddy, Mark (Andrew Tiernan), later falters in his support. Time comes when Alison has to decide whether to sacrifice her own future on the altar of her husband’s incapacity.

It’s a film of small moments and accruing observations, meticulously charted by scripter Kay Melor (“Band of Gold”) in episodes that steer clear of both heavy emotional stuff and intrusive plotting.

Stevenson is very good as the sorry man-child. Taylor and Tiernan weigh in with solid support.

Youthful TV director Julian Jarrold is content to get the strong script and perfs on the screen, sans much cinematic style. Tech credits on the Super-16mm movie are pro, with slim but effective scoring by David Ferguson.

Some Kind of Life

(BRITISH)

Production

A Granada Film production. (International sales: Granada/LWT Intl., London.) Produced by Bill Boyes. Executive producer, Pippa Cross. Directed by Julian Jarrold. Screenplay, Kay Mellor.

Crew

Camera (color, Super-16 mm), David Odd; editor, Edward Mansell; music, David Ferguson; production design , Michael Young; art direction, Sue Booth; sound (Dolby), Phil Smith; assistant director, Peter Shaw; casting, Doreen Jones. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival (New British Expo), Aug. 22, 1995. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

With: Jane Horrocks, Ray Stevenson, Gwen Taylor, Andrew Tirenan, David Hargreaves, Cherith Mellor.
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