A chasm gradually widened between Grace (Annette Bening) and Edward (Bill Nighy).
June 18, 2020
Updated on June 19, 2020 4h18
What separates us: the woman betrayed ***
CRITICISM / The French title of the drama by William Nicholson — What separates us (Hope Gap) — evokes beautifully the chasm that has gradually widened between Edward and Grace. A reality that gets to this point unbearable for him that he decides to leave after 29 years of marriage. Nothing new, but the film is wonderfully played by Bill Nighy and Annette Bening, masterful in a woman betrayed the bitterness and the gall overwhelm her husband and their son Jamie.
The couple has lived since always Seaford, a small town on the south coast of England. A teacher of history, introverted, Edward broods in silence deep in thought while Grace, who is working on an anthology of poetry, the assails of his questions. The extrovert, a little eccentric, and a believer seeks the cause for it kind of her apathy. They are clearly made for each other. Have they already been ?
Edward summons Jamie (Josh O’connor, seen in Only the earth and cinema in The Crown at the tv) at the house for the end of the week. When Grace comes back from the mass, the man unpacks his bag. It has the impression of never finding grace in the eyes of his wife, feels constantly left. During this relationship toxic that the poison little by little Edward has fallen in love with Angela, the mother of one of his students. In short, it exits. With immediate effect.
Grace is devastated by the shock (Jamie, a sensitive guy, too). His world collapses. Then comes the denial. And the blackmail emotional. Manipulative, Grace is granted all the bassesses to prevent the end of his marriage…
William Nicholson has especially distinguished himself as a screenwriter of films and large-scale (Gladiator, Les Miserables, Mandela : A long walk to freedom, etc). In the registry of the intimate, its proposal does not stand out in addition to measurement of amount of feature films on the rupture and its aftershocks.
Nicholson has made real efforts in film, including his inspired way of beautifully film the English coast (to the Broachurch), accompanied by a superb instrumental music on the piano by Alex Heffes, who he worked with on the Mandela. It also has an undeniable sense of the detail meaning (which is rather rare). His direction of actors is the height.
Unfortunately, it does not make us forget that it is an adaptation of his play The Retreat from Moscow, inspired by the separation of his parents after 33 years of marriage. The first act is an almost closed session held in the family home.
Jamie, his alter ego, proves to be almost invisible. His role, literally and figuratively, becomes more important as it serves, somehow, as a mediator between his parents. But he finds himself stuck between the hammer and the anvil.