Ilford, October 1922: Percy Thompson is fatally stabbed by Freddy Bywaters, his wife Edith's lover and the couple's former lodger. The subsequent murder trial of both Edith and Bywaters was a media sensation and the judgment (she was hanged) so controversial that the Home Office closed the case files for 100 years. The focus here is on an independent-minded woman who didn't fit with the bourgeois mores of her time: a would-be free spirit who, as a milliner's book-keeper, earned more than her husband, and fantasised about killing him when she took a lover. Natasha Little's sterling performance combines the cowed suburbanite and the lusty daydreamer, making Edie as captivating as she needs to be for the film's emotional pay-off. There are, however, a few sticky moments. The visualisation of Edith's homicidal musings lacks the necessary subtle delineation of fantasy/reality, and writer/director Goodhew's deft way with dialogue sometimes deserts him when there's a point to prod home. Still, accomplished support from Moran's dull-stick husband and Wilkinson's mercurial milliner earn a measure of goodwill, and the rich material spurs an overriding sense of injustice.
Cast and crew