In 2003, aspiring musician Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit in North London in 2003. Somehow, though, her death went unnoticed by her friends. For three years. Director Carol Morley digs up some uncomfortable truths about how it happened.
A tragedy retains its mystery despite Carol Morley’s best efforts in this compelling documentary that attempts to piece together the life of Joyce Carol Vincent, the 38-year-old whose skeletal corpse had lain for three years in a London refuge for battered women before it was discovered. Denied access to Vincent’s sisters, Morley interviews workmates and ex-boyfriends, and elicits sufficient information to illustrate the speculation with effective if calculating reconstructions with Zawe Ashton. While she fails to uncover the truth about Vincent’s last days, Morley does raise disconcerting questions about a society that can allow a vivacious but vulnerable woman to simply disappear without anybody noticing. Sincere and desperately sad.
This barely conceivable story of neglect and loneliness is given heartbreaking new life by Morley, with Zawe Ashton standing in effectively for the tragic young singer.
Reviewed by Patrick Peters