Before You Go

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A tale of a mother's death, and the disinterment of childhood conflicts by the three daughters who return home to bury her, should be rich with sibling rivalry, unspoken resentment, false memories. So why doesn't this well-cast adaptation of Shelagh Stephenson's play The Memory of Water come off? Middle-aged Teresa (Walters with echoes of 'Mrs Mop' familiar from TV) is a comically tragic put-upon doormat. Whalley, meanwhile, is pretty convincing as thirty-something career girl Mary, trying to come to terms with a past that still haunts her in the shape of ghost mum Patricia Hodge. Hamilton, however, as the joint-smoking, self-obsessed youngest sister is merely irritating. The trouble lies with the pace and Stephenson's own script, where any opportunity for emotional depth is lost in a succession of set pieces and trite one-liners. It's hard to believe, watching this, that Gilbert once directed Alfie, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine.

By: JFu

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