Black Mountain Poets


Reviewed by: Luke Shaw

Black Mountain Poets
"The script sparkles, delivering plenty of great moments."

Poets as pseudo-intellectual busy bodies is a good fall-back for a comedy. Isolating these supreme egos on rain-slicked mountains in order to create friction as they hunt down inspiration makes for a fun scenario, and when you add two consummate fraudsters and a messy relationship to the mix, it can only serve to crank up the laughs.

Alice Lowe and Dolly Wells are Lisa and Claire, two con artists who steal the car of the Wildling Sisters, a pair of avant garde poets on their way to an artistic retreat in the Black Mountains of Wales. After bluffing their way into the crowd of aspiring poets, they set their eyes on the £11k prize for best poem at the end of the week, and on artistically frustrated and hunky poet Richard (Tom Cullen).

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Things are complicated by the appearance of Richard’s pampered and prissy ex, who is still trying to wrap him round her little finger, and the awkward competition between the poets and the frauds. It's not a very raucous comedy, with Lowe putting in a restrained performance of someone who isn’t above using her wily talent for lying to pull a bit of rough, but is also forced to come to terms with a lack of confidence and drive.

The script sparkles, delivering plenty of great moments as the pair of friends try and pass themselves off as The Wildings to humorous effect (although it’s worth noting that the real hippy-dippy Wildling sisters always raised a chuckle when they were on screen) and there’s also a lot of awkward cringing in the earnest tale. Thankfully the leading duo don’t overshadow the supporting cast, leaving them to act out their own personal neuroses and misguided confidences.

The Black Romance trilogy set out to present romances in a more realistic light, and Poets succeeds in making an entertaining but heartfelt stab at this. It doesn’t ever really diminish the work that poets do. Although the setting is used to lighten the tone significantly, and although aspersions toward ‘new’ poetry are called to light, it never feels as if it is being belittled. The handful of genuine poems that end up being performed in the film at least go far enough to show that, as in filmmaking, a genuine and sincere expression of emotion can be both amusing and inspiring.

Reviewed on: 28 Jun 2015
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Relationship comedy about a pair of on-the-run sisters who pose as poets on a camping retreat.
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Director: Jamie Adams

Writer: Jamie Adams

Starring: Tom Cullen, Alice Lowe, Dolly Wells

Year: 2015

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2015

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