Between Two Women

Those who prefer their sexual tension straitjacketed by period setting, nuanced acting and veddy-English politeness will enjoy U.K. telepic "Between Two Women," a broadcast feature making gay-fest rounds. Handsomely crafted drama bodes well for writer-director Steven Woodcock.

With:
With: Barbara Marten, Andrew Dunn, Andrina Carroll, Frank Windsor, Paul Shane, Edward Woodcock.

Those who prefer their sexual tension straitjacketed by period setting, slavishly nuanced acting and veddy-English politeness will enjoy U.K. telepic “Between Two Women,” a 2000 Brit broadcast feature making gay-fest rounds. Handsomely crafted drama bodes well for first-time feature writer-director Steven Woodcock, but is a little too “Masterpiece Theater” to break out of small-screen bounds.

In 1957, 10-year-old art prodigy Victor (Edward Woodcock) is encouraged by both teacher Kathy (Andrina Carroll) and mum Ellen (Barbara Marten), though working-class stiff dad (Andrew Dunn) is humiliated by his rather distant, maternally overaligned son’s acceptance by upper-crust types — in particular Kathy, with whom Ellen appears all-too-eager to spend afterschool time. Indeed, considerable sexual frisson develops between the two women. Thoughtful design contributions eke lyrical detail from the North Country setting (though regional accents will challenge offshore viewers), while repressive atmosphere of postwar economy and mutually unsatisfying wedlock are limned in delicate, evenhandedly sympathetic strokes. But after so much deliberate restraint, recognition of lesbian desire comes off a bit gushy, awkward-marriage resolution too easy. Apparent pauses for broadcast commercial-break upset cumulative impact.

Between Two Women

U.K.

Production: A North Country Pictures production in association with Worldwide Entertainment and Silverscreen USA. Produced by Steven Woodcock. Executive producer, Julie Woodcock. Directed, written by Steven Woodcock.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Gordon Hickie; editors, David Aspinall, Heidi Stiene, Steve Woffenden; production designer, Christopher Dutton; music, Michael Hammer. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Festival, June 15, 2003. Running time: 92 MIN.

With: With: Barbara Marten, Andrew Dunn, Andrina Carroll, Frank Windsor, Paul Shane, Edward Woodcock.

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