A struggling musician having a bad day is befriended by an excessively nice chap with apparently bottomless deep pockets in “In a Day,” writer-director Evan Richards’ charming if not fully conceived study of the need to make amends for past wrongs. Driven largely by a pair of lead thesps who manage the neat trick of sustaining a nearly uninterrupted dialogue for the better part of 81 minutes, pic will win favor at indie-friendly fests where such modest and crafted films won’t get lost in the shuffle, and then snatch further dates in vid.
Jazz pianist Ashley (Lorraine Pilkington) supports her art by working in an East End London sandwich shop frequented by Michael (Finlay Robertson). One morning, a man (Nolan Hemmings) talks her up at a bus stop only to grossly insult her and toss coffee at her head.
As Ashley tries to collect herself, Michael is suddenly hovering over her trying to help. He implies he’s some sort of guardian angel committed to providing her with a pleasant day.
For the film to work, Michael must charm himself past Ashley’s natural defenses, and, while Pilkington is very good at suggesting a woman who can keep her guard up, Robertson smoothly forges a kindly demeanor and an unprepossessing manner.
Besides, he offers Ashley everything from a nice gourmet lunch to a new ‘do, and gains her further sympathy with a quick stop at the home of his impossibly grating sister Judith (Rose Keegan, in the film’s notable third perf). Unfortunately, Richards’ talky script doesn’t give a reason why Michael does all this that’s considerable enough to resonate with everything that’s come before.
Casting (care of Matt Western) is aces, and Richards’ handling of the widescreen frame (with lenser Gareth Pritchard) displays a strong modernist touch.