ETERNAL BEAUTY

Cert 15 Stars 3

Thwarted romance, family dysfunction and mental illness are thrown together in this odd drama which is an inventive and original blend of mystery thriller, kitchen sink drama and suburban horror.

Sally Hawkins is one of Britain’s most accomplished actresses whose range has seen her play Mrs Brown in the delightful Paddington films, a gangster’s moll in Brit thriller, Layer Cake, and Oscar nominated as a mute cleaner who falls in love with a man-fish creature in The Shape of Water.

As a jilted bride called Jane living on a bleak South Wales council estate, Hawkins is a sympathetic and confused soul suffering from depression and struggling with her family played by Billie Piper and Penelope Wilton, while David Thewlis appears a failed musician.

Writer and director Craig Roberts underlines his quirky sense of humour with a strong visual style, and handles the transitions between tones with assurance while offering us a bleak and melancholy portrait of Britain, full of grey skies, grief and infidelity.

It’s a curious and unsettling exploration of loneliness which questions whether being mad is a more satisfying way of coping with the world than sanity.