<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysWelsh writer/director Sugarman's second feature is an uneven, sometimes awkward but ultimately winning parable about female emancipation and small town claustrophobia. It's set in the Valleys, in the former mining community of Ogw, and Sugarman revels in its looped cadence. Here Annie-Mary (Griffiths) cooks and cleans for her da, Jack Pugh (Pryce), the town baker. Pugh is loved for his wonderful tenor voice, but he's a tyrannical father who treats his daughter more like a maid than his own flesh and blood. Very broad, this opening, with Annie-Mary apparently still a teenager at heart, her development forestalled by the death of her mam just as she was on the point of taking up a singing scholarship in Milan. Sugarman finds more emotional focus when Pugh suffers a stroke but selfishly refuses to die. So the cruel indignities add up. It's only when she joins some local lassies for a talent contest that Annie-Mary gets a chance to prove herself. Griffiths throws herself into this ugly duckling role with characteristic aplomb: hair in buns, dressed in hand-me-downs, but with those beseeching eyes - it's as if this time she gets to play Hilary and Jackie.