Waiting for You, 2018
Directed by Charles Garrad
Starring Colin Morgan, Fanny Ardant, Audrey Bastien, Adelkrim Bahloul
When Paul’s (Colin Morgan) father utters some deathbed clues to a past his son knew nothing about, it triggers a journey of discovery that leads him to a house situated amongst the foothills of the French countryside. Here lives Madeleine (Fanny Ardant), a secretive musician, who might be the key to unlocking the dark secrets of his childhood.
There’s a lot to like about Charles Garrad’s European postcard of a movie. It’s one of those jaunty little flicks that’d sit perfectly on a bleak Sunday afternoon’s viewing schedule. That’s not to do it a disservice, because Waiting for You strikes the perfect balance between untaxing entertainment, with just the right amount of mystery bubbling under to keep you intrigued amongst the holiday romance and junior detective work.
The foundation for its success is the cast, led by a understated turn from Colin Morgan, who’s known to many as Merlin from the BBC drama, or Leo in Humans, and here carries the film with a relaxed charm that translates to believably real. Performances centred on grief can veer between histrionics or melancholy, but there’s none of that here. In fact most of the characters are underplayed to the benefit of the story.
The biggest personality on display comes in the form of veteran French actress Fanny Ardant (La Femme d’à côté), who plays the mysterious Madeline Brown as a cross between Miss Haversham and Mrs. Robinson, constantly toying with your perception of her character’s true motivations. There’s a grace to her that perfectly compliments Garrard’s soft focus execution of the story.
The only real frustration with Waiting for You is in the way that it delays the plot momentum. Making something slow burn is a welcome approach in this quick fix landscape, but when you have a moment of potential revelation stalled by a character whose driving force for the entire movie is to the solve the mystery, simply by saying “I want you to tell me what happened………..later”, it feels a little contrived. As is the way in which some of the breadcrumbs are of the ‘drop the case file to reveal the photo’ variety. It just feels at odds with the patient way in which the rest of the film has played out.
Sometimes a film’s greatest strength in how it just wants to tell an interesting tale, free of gimmicks and grandstanding, and Waiting for You is one such story.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★
Waiting for You will screen at the East End Film Festival on 21st April 2018.