This indie about a nearly-romance between an 18-year-old girl and an older man won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s up-close and intimate, and you might find its improvised dialogue (and one too many shots of the couple exchanging deep and meaningfuls) excruciatingly pretentious. After watching it twice, I’m sold – just about.
What swings it are irresistible performances from Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce. Jones is Sophie, a British exchange student living with a family in the US. Pearce (unusually soft and breakable) plays Keith, the dad. She’s a talented pianist. He’s an indie guitarist who’s working nine-to-five as a teacher and seriously frustrated that life has got in the way of his dreams of stardom. Sophie thinks she knows his marriage in the way teens think they know everything. In the straight-to-DVD version, Keith would be a sleazy alpha-creep and Sophie would be played by someone from ‘Skins’. It’s more complicated here. Saying that, Jones is 29. She looks not a day over 20 (it’s like she’s had botox injections of crushed unicorn horns). If an actual 18-year-old was playing Sophie, I wonder if we’d feel so sympathetic?