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A Film Diary

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Watched: 12 October

A fine debut feature by Peter Mackie Burns, helped considerably by a strong central performance from Emily Beecham. She plays the titular Londoner, a trainee chef in her early 30s who comes across initially as a bit of a prickly and cocky character, though it quickly becomes apparent that her put-downs and could-care-less attitude is a defence mechanism, perhaps stemming from insecurity, and it can’t really mask an underlying sense of kindness (we see random acts of generosity to those in less fortunate circumstances). As we follow Daphne at work and through various social escapades (dates, drugs, one night stands etc) a portrait emerges of a more brittle soul trying to come to terms with her own mother’s illness, an act of violence witnessed in a shop, as well as various age- and situation-related concerns (settling down, finding a partner, etc). Thankfully Daphne doesn’t suddenly change completely in the blink of an eye; this is a well-realised portrait of a character who is well aware of her rough edges, and while I think some lines probably worked better on the page and that some of the reading is a little awkward as a result, it’s an enjoyable watch. It also uses everyday, non-central London locations very well. (***½)

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