Archipelago Review

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Traveling to the Scilly Isles, Cynthia (Lydia Leonard), her brother Edward (Tom Hiddleston) and their mother (Kate Fahey) soon find family tensions coming to the fore as they await the arrival of their father


Insisting that the middle-classes also have their problems, Joanna Hogg’s second feature has much in common with the over-rated Unrelated. Once again the holidaying bourgeois are neither charming nor discreet. But the phone feuds and squabbles feel derivative, while civilised chit-chat does little to overcome the absence of backstories and dogged distanciation that prevent identification with the characters gathered on Tresco before twentysomething Tom Hiddleston departs for Africa. Tensions between family and hired helps are well observed and played with an awkward naturalism, and Ed Rutherford’s compositions are impeccable. Yet, with the exception of Leonard’s restaurant outburst, this plays like bloodless British Bergman.

Shot with grace and precision but paced with all the urgency of a Sunday afternoon stroll, Joanna Hogg's Haneke-lite study of an English middle class family is a well-crafted affair elevated by terrific moments.