One Life Stand

One Life Stand


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Men are weak and after only one thing. Women are strong and adept at faking it.

May Miles Thomas portrays Trise's life in a Glasgow tenement as a constant battle against the gutless sponging attitude of her ungrateful teenage son (John Kielty), who dabbles with the idea of being a male model, ending up servicing housewives for an escort agency, and her useless, grafting, estranged husband (Gary Lewis), who drops round to disturb the peace whenever he's bored of being unemployed.

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Despite gritty, black-and-white realism and a performance by Maureen Carr (Trise) that cuts to the quick, the film suffers from being edited by its writer/director. Few scenes would not benefit from a trim.

At a time when the English have been churning out cut-price Lock Stock imitations and facile romantic comedies that can't even aspire to the oh-so-average ambitions of Notting Hill, Thomas is a breath of fresh air. She cares, she is not sentimental and she is good with actors.

Why does One Life Stand excite less than Gillies MacKinnon's Small Faces, Peter Mullan's Orphans or Lynne Ramsay's Ratcatcher? As a debut feature, it is to be applauded. Carr ensures that. Scenes of working-class angst, supported by an abused mother's dedication to her only son's future welfare, are heartening. There is hope in the inner cities, after all. The missing ingredients are humour and inventiveness, both elusive and subjective elements.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Life is tough for a single mum in a Glasgow tenement.
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Keith Hennessey Brown *

Director: May Miles Thomas

Writer: May Miles Thomas

Starring: Maureen Carr, Gary Lewis, John Kielty, Archie Lal, Alyson Orr, Johanna Law

Year: 2000

Runtime: 115 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2000

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