The Winter Guest

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This confident directorial debut is unashamed of its theatrical origins. Alan Rickman, who helped create (and directed) Sharman Macdonald's play in Leeds and London, wrote the script with the playwright, and retains Phyllida Law as the meddling Elspeth who tries to rekindle a relationship with her grieving daughter Frances (Emma Thompson, Law's real daughter). Set against the snow, wind and ice-blasted landscape of a Fife fishing village, it follows and contrasts the diffident, often quarrelsome relationships of four pairs of characters - two teenage boys playing hooky; two ageing 'funeral' junkies; Frances' son and an independent young woman; and the mother and daughter. The distraction of the Pinter-esque pauses and use of language notwithstanding, it's well acted (with child actors Murphy and Biggerstaff especially winning), sensitively directed and expressively shot (by Seamus McGarvey), but finally a shade too dramatically sealed up.

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alan Rickman
Screenwriter: Alan Rickman, Sharman Macdonald
Cast: Arlene Cockburn
Sean Biggerstaff
Sheila Reid
Emma Thompson
Douglas Murphy
Gary Hollywood
Sandra Voe
Phyllida Law
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