March 13, 2014 6:56 pm

Back to the Garden – film review

A very English aloofness pervades this improvised drama, in which a widow mourns her husband

Anna Mottram and Emma Garden

There’ll always be an England while there’s a country lane, especially one leading to Despair Cottage and Miserablism Movie Workshop. Back to the Garden, a seriocomical six-hander, is the third of Jon Sanders’ small-budget family dramas set in am-dram Anglo-Saxony. A man has died. Friends gather for a day of converging character subplots before the scattering of ashes in the widow’s east Kent garden.

The speeches and dialogues, though improvised, are stiffly set up, like acting school exercises. “Shy wife meets hubby’s new love object”; “Hubby delivers self-revealing poem”. The film needed more heat and fluency, more inter-melting of components. Then again, it is very English, the way everything and everyone stand aloof from the perils of over-connectedness.

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Nigel Andrews


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