The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room


Reviewed by: Moominkat

Plucky Anna (Anne-Marie Duff) is a single mum having a sneaky, fumbling affair with next door’s stay at home dad, Ghastly George (Rupert Graves) despite his wife Jem being Anna’s best friend. One day, by chance, Anna bumps into Caring Stephen (Ralf Little), while taking care of Daft Old’ Roger (Frank Finlay) who’s gone to meet his long-dead wife off the London train. Anne and Stephen exchange Longing Looks and go their separate ways, Stephen back to his neurotic and slightly weird girlfriend, Tearful Fiona (Christine Bottomley), Anna to fight off the amorous advances of George, whom she now finds rather less attractive, in fact, positively cloying. The remainder of this film asks the will-they/won’t-they get together question?

The eponymous waiting room of the title does appear fleetingly, for about three minutes, but otherwise the action in this film takes place in the three homes of the couples involved in this rather bittersweet, low-key love story. I assume, therefore, that the waiting room referred to represents the lives of the protagonists (and by extension, ours).

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The premise seems to be that the characters are living their lives out waiting for something better, for the real thing to happen. Some are even in the process of settling for second best. The lucky one who did meet that special other is now living out his twilight years in an old folks’ home, blissfully unaware that his other half has long been gathered. The message I gathered from this rather twee piece was: don’t settle for the path of least resistance, fight for the real thing, for true companionship and happiness. Awwww.

It’s sweetly done, well-observed and nicely acted, but I did find I was asking myself the whole way through ‘why is it that so many British films feel as though they are ‘made for TV’?’ The Waiting Room reminded me a bit of Brief Encounter (a film I loathe) probably because there are scenes in a station and there are trains. Oh, and it’s British. Another film that kept popping into my head was Falling In Love, also set in suburban train stations (American), with Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro. This feels like a straight-to-DVD film, worth watching but not huge.

Reviewed on: 31 Aug 2007
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Londoners' love lives explored in will-they/won't-they romance.
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Director: Roger Goldby

Writer: Roger Goldby

Starring: Anne-Marie Duff, Ralf Little, Rupert Graves, Frank Finlay, Zoe Telford

Year: 2007

Runtime: 96 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2007

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