ANCHOR AND HOPE (2017)
Starring Oona Chaplin, Natalia Tena, David Verdaguer, Geraldine Chaplin, Trevor White, Charlotte Atkinson, Lara Rossi, Philip Arditti, Meghan Treadway, Rogers Leona, Faith Edwards, Laraine Dix, Taya De La Cruz, Becky Bullman, Peyton Jowers and Kimberly J. Forbes.
Screenplay by Carlos Marques-Marcet and Jules Nurrish.
Directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet.
Distributed by Wolfe Releasing. 113 minutes. Not Rated.
Screened at the 2018 Philadelphia Film Festival.
Anchor and Hope takes a pretty commonplace modern indie movie plotline – a lesbian couple talks a male friend into becoming a sperm donor in order to have a child and all of the complications that come from it – and makes it charmingly quirky. This offbeat and sweet vibe makes the film much more interesting than this slightly clichéd story may have been.
Eva and Kat are the once-happy couple who are starting to come to terms with a previously unexplored problem in their lives – Eva is increasingly feeling the need to be a mother, but Kat really does not want to have children. This simple contradiction is pulling them apart. Finally, despite her misgivings, Kat agrees to ask an old friend to become a sperm donor, really only to keep Eva happy.
That friend is Roger, a good-hearted and fun but rather irresponsible ladies’ man from Spain. He agrees to the request, and quickly moves into the women’s home – a canal boat which circles London to find temporary docking spaces. Roger wants to be a part of the eventual baby’s life, and his sudden immersion in Eva and Kat’s lives just puts more pressure on Eva and Kat’s fraying bond.
Eva is played Oona Chaplin (Game of Thrones), granddaughter of legendary filmmaker Charlie Chaplin. (Her own mother, Geraldine Chaplin, plays her character’s eccentric mum.) Natalia Tena is Kat, honestly the most conflicted character and the one with the most interesting story arc. David Verdaguer is likable and fun as Roger, but never seems to be taking things very seriously.
Their lives and world are all arty and fun, until it isn’t so much anymore. The houseboat is a particularly pointed view of their slight immaturity, but it is a very cool place. The slow unraveling of this couple’s bond is sometimes a little hard to watch, particularly because they do seem to be a good match.
The film is named after a pub which is shown in the background in several scenes – but there is only one scene which actually takes place inside the place. And that is a relatively unimportant scene in which Kat – who works there as a bartender – takes an extra shift to avoid going home.
And what’s the deal with the huge round metallic structure that gets not one, but two long, foreboding interludes as the boat floats past it? I guess it must be a London thing, because I’m not sure I got it at all.
Still, Anchor and Hope is a sweet and poignant love story, a tale that is obviously cheering for the couple to make it and always leaves that as a real possibility after they weather the rough patch.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2018 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 1, 2018.