Albatross Review

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Emelia (Jessica Brown-Findlay) takes a job as a cleaner in a seaside hotel, making friends with the owner's daughter Beth (Felicity Jones), as well as having an affair with the owner himself, Jonathan (Sebastian Koch).

★★★★★

Niall MacCormick’s debut feature sees four lives at an impasse. A former bestselling author who’s blocked (Sebastian Koch), his wife (a droll Julia Ormond) who dreams of her long-faded acting career, their daughter struggling to escape the family home (Felicity Jones) and her friend, the enigmatic Emelia (Jessica Brown Findlay), who harbours lofty literary ambitions. Stuck in a creaky old seaside guesthouse, they rattle off one another like spinning tops. It could be an exercise in indolence if not for the razor-sharp dialogue that springs from the screen, especially in the precocious mouth of Brown Findlay, whose performance is startling. The only real let-down is an uneven third act and an inappropriately neat ending that unnecessarily rounds the story’s irregular corners.

A startling performace from Findlay doesn't quite make up for a disappointing third act.