This Year's Love

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Playing musical beds in London's Camden Town begins to look like a Scots-eye-view of La Ronde. There isn't enough red meat in these casual relationships to make a decent meal. If dysfunction means waking up with a nagging feeling you're under the duvet with a strange bird, this is a dysfunctional movie.

Douglas Henshall and Catherine McCormack's marriage is finished before they cut the cake. His best man's wife tells him the lovely bride has been putting herself around a bit. Result? Tears, booze, toilet bowl chundering, picking up tossers in the pub, feeling miserable and/or ratarsed, and pretending the next one-night-stand has more going for it than struggling out of a pair of tights when pissed.

David Kane wrote the wonderful Ruffian Hearts, another ensemble piece about wasters, strays and artists in Glasgow. This Year's Love has none of that humour. These characters are losers, but not funny losers. As one of them says, while pulling the giglamped nerd (Ian Hart) into bed, "I'm a bit of a sucker for sad bastards."

The acting has a richness that sparkles. Dougray Scott as a scruff painter, who never washes, but sleeps with anything that moves, is almost as good as Hart's mentally unstable anorak. Kathy Burke, as an airport cleaner who sings with a band at night and thinks anyone who fancies her must be nuts, is terrific. So too is Jennifer Ehle as an upper-class drop-out who drifts through blokes on a whim and a whisky. Henshall is his usual tartan-brained self - I'm fra Glasgae an' proud o' it - and McCormack could not have been better. The question is: do you care enough?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Musical beds in Camden Town.
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