12 – 78mins – 2009
50 WAVES OF GREY
Six years before he stripped off as the world’s richest and kinkiest bachelor, Jamie “Christian Grey” Dornan played sullen and introverted soul Joe in this small independent drama filmed on the Norfolk coast. Writer and director David Rocksavage’s 60s set exploration of family relationships also marks the final role for Spartacus and Guys and Dolls icon Jean Simmons as the aging and ailing Hannah, who Joe becomes the unconventional carer for.
When Hannah’s son Robert (James Gosford Park Wilby) brings her grandchildren Kate (W1A and Hooten and the Lady star Ophelia Lovibond in an early role) and Sam (Toby Marlow) to stay, Robert is immediately uncomfortable with the mysterious young man’s motives for befriending his chronically ill mother. Will Joe be able to win Robert’s trust as swiftly as he has won Kate’s heart, Sam’s confidence and Hannah’s friendship?
Slow in pace and gentle in soul, Shadows in the Sun is an artist’s movie, packing in poetry readings, theatrical rehearsals and graceful postcard shots of wind-swept East Anglian beaches into its too-short character study. Robert’s provocative plans to move his mother down to a London bedsit while (over-)protecting his children from Joe’s charms is as stirring as it gets. Maudlin and meandering, it all too often mistakes moody recitals for philosophical musing.
CR@B’s Claw Score: