Director - Peter Mackie Burns
Starring - Emily Beecham, Tom Vaughn
Emily Beecham shines in this wonderful movie that follows the aforementioned Daphne, a 31 year old Londoner who has given up on living life and hides behind quoting philosophy and her steely armour. Daphne floats detached from truly engaging with people unless she has a sharp remark to cut through those close to her and give herself an excuse to be unlikable and hide away. However, after paying witness to a stabbing, Daphne struggles to keep up her defences and realises she might need help.
Daphne takes a modest and loose approach to storytelling, with major events like a stabbing acting as a mere trickle through the movie and not being the catalyst for larger themes and emotions. This decision benefits the movie and keeps it all grounded and makes Beecham always relatable by learning to care about yourself and life again before the true change can happen. Daphne is struggling to understand why certain events do not cause her to experience operatic emotions, something that is truly relatable and all too rare in screenwriting where the easy option is to escalate the feelings and drama. Daphne believes she doesn't need anyone and always tries to push people with away with her drinking, behaviour and sharp words but cannot see that those around her are providing her with a support network. Emily Beecham creates a truly rounded character that is always believable and all too relatable for those who have realised that their life is the crossroads of change and that sometimes we need to preempt that harsh change and bunker down before the bomb drops.
Director Peter Mackie Burns creates a London using natural lighting that is stripped of the glamour and postcard shots and uses the side streets and suburbs, the use of muted colours shows a city that reflects Daphne perfectly. It always feels like Beecham, Burns and writer Nico Mensinga go for the stripped down to the bones option and it allows the acting and writing to be the star. Daphne's success comes from not trying to manipulate the crowd with cliches but by allowing a rounded character to dominate every scene and moment and drive the movie.
Daphne gets its UK Premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Friday the 23rd
Lee Hutchison - @lee_nostromo