Tuesday, August 04, 2015

You’re Ugly Too - a sombre film, tinged with hope (QFT 7-13 August)

Life has thrown a lot at Stacey during her first 11 years. With her father already dead, she is fostered when her mother suddenly dies.

Her only close relative Uncle Will (played by Aidan Gillen - Love/Hate, Queer As Folk) is given temporary compassionate leave from prison to look after his niece.
“I don’t understand why we’re staying in a shitty caravan in the middle of nowhere?”

Rescuing a Belgian neighbour in a tight spot introduces Emilie (Erika Sainte) to the pair’s solitary confinement in the caravan park.

Will’s ambiguous answers about his past and present don’t cut the mustard with Stacey and threaten to damage their embryonic guardian/daughter relationship.
“You hurt my eyes with that outfit … you look like a freakin’ optical illusion!”

Lauren Kinsella plays the inquisitive, cheeky, spitting, burping and at times sweary Stacey. She’s still at the age where you wear t-shirts with upside down zebra patterns, but has a spirited soul and a blunt honesty that cuts through the deception she finds in the people around her.

The colour palette is green and beige, reflecting the mood of every character as well as the Irish midlands scenery. While some of the early cuts between camera angles are overly abrupt, the film soon settles into a temperate rhythm.

After seventy minutes or so the screen went blank and I wondered whether writer and director Mark Noonan was going to leave the audience to make up the rest of the story as we walked out of the dark cinema screen.

Instead another five minutes of script was acted out, moving time and the characters’ lives forward.

Coping, adapting, grieving but never crying out for pity: Stacey needs a second chance at being part of a family. Will’s parole isn’t permanent. Does he deserve another shot?

With a soundtrack that’s as gentle as the film’s humour, You’re Ugly Too is sombre but tinged with hope. It opens in the Queen’s Film Theatre on Friday 7 and runs until Thursday 13 August.

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