Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There are girls who know their power over men and there are girls who manipulate this power to feed their insecurities and there are girls who don't know what they do, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Emelia is all of these, 17 years old, a fantasist, free loader and infidelity magnate. A boozer, rather than a druggie, she is so openly available that any fella - in this case blocked middle-aged novelist Jonathan Fischer - would find sex in the airing cupboard irresistible.

The trouble with Albatross is not only that Emelia wouldn't have lasted a day in the employ of Mrs Fischer (great to see Julia Ormond back, even in an unsympathetic role), as cleaner in a small hotel on the Isle of Man, but the idea that she can infiltrate herself into the family by becoming teenage Beth's best friend as well as Jonathan's bit on the side, is stretching it. Mrs F is a tough lady, frustrated with hubby and sick of scratching by in a business that only provides crises and complaints. She would have taken one look at Emelia's arsey smile and stand-alone tits and known instinctively that this girl is Dangerous.

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The so-called literary subplot is paper thin. Emelia calls herself Conan Doyle and claims ancestry to the great man. Jonathan still basks under the fading glow of a well-received book, published 20 years earlier. Now he hangs around in his attic work room, trawling Wikipedia, or tossing off to web porn. The guy is conceived in Clicheville and is as interesting as suet. He's also good looking.

Emelia's charm carries the movie. If you don't love her to bits you need psychiatric help, say the testosterone tribes of feckless young men. The girl is poison. Beth is sweeter by far, except she lacks the courage of her convictions. Somewhere a story of love and courage lies buried beneath the silt of mediocrity. Albatross doesn't move from its tramlines. There are no surprises, only prettier shots of Jessica Brown Findlay to placate the over 40s.

Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2011
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Albatross packshot
Coming of age comedy drama, with strong central performances from two fast rising British actresses.
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Director: Niall MacCormick

Writer: Tamzin Rafn

Starring: Sebastian Koch, Julia Ormond, Felicity Jones, Peter Vaughan, Harry Treadaway, Thomas Brodie Sangster, Jessica Brown Findlay

Year: 2010

Runtime: 88 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2011

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