Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Karen's looking to get a job, but things aren't going well. The manager's younger than new policemen, the job's "just data entry", out in one of those bits of industrial estate that has a "Block 5" and probably has streets named after companies long-since defunct. Things don't go well, things slip. We've all done it, we've all seen it, just "not in an interview situation, no".

Played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Karen's just on the edge of collapse. Propping her up, pulling her down, pushed along, is Henry. Child actors Felix and Max Linghorn are Henry, and around them Waller-Bridge has real chemistry. Adding to the cast of Channel 4 types are Anna, played by Eloise Joseph, and Joe Gilgun (Woody from This is England and its successors) as Martin - a pair of strangers Karen encounters in disturbing circumstances.

Michael Pearce's direction is assured. There are some beautiful bits of composition in scenes in the bath, and it still takes skill to elicit good performances even from experienced casts. John Donnelly's script is well crafted - the pair manage to create tension from the seemingly mundane, a layered portrait of what's happening around a kid, oblivious, even endangered.

Channel 4's Coming Up scheme brings together screenwriters and directors early in their careers to make short films using Channel 4's excellent filmmaking apparatus. They're assisted by quality personnel such as Dan Parry - while Waller-Bridge sings to Henry and ably, Parry's good at this whole scoring thing too - his work on Channel 4's Coming Up makes him a pocket John Barry, a John Williams of this counter-clock Countdown.

Eye For Film saw 2013's Coming Up at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and the requirements of staging seven weeks of short films in a single morning mean that the credits that would usually be talked over to tell you about E4 showing an episode of Big Bang Theory again were, well, quicker than your reviewer's spidery handwriting. As such there are doubtless others whose contributions should be noted - your DoPs, set-dressers, makeup and location scouts, all of whom have helped construct a genuine slice of modern life. Even songwriters must go unacknowledged, though some lyric searches suggest it might be Roxy Music or Sophie Zelmani.

Henry is touching, well-crafted, well-acted, and an indicator of talent on the part of Donnelly and Pearce. It's an excellent opener for 2013's Coming Up, and indicative of the continued high quality of the scheme.

Reviewed on: 01 Jul 2013
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As life for his mother becomes increasingly complicated and frustrating, young Henry struggles to get his needs met.

Director: Michael Pearce

Writer: John Donnelly

Starring: Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Felix Linghorn, Max Linghorn, Eloise Joseph, Joe Gilgun

Year: 2013

Runtime: 10 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2013

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