Film, Drama
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The 1930s is a glorious era in which to set a film: all that flappering, chain-smoking and pre-war misbehaving, combined with outré outfits and jazz-baby music, usually guarantees a good time, if nothing else. Perhaps Jordan Scott (daughter of Ridley) presumed that the setting alone would ensure that her script unspooled as smoothly as a Capra comedy; if so, she gravely underestimated the difficulties inherent in making something look effortless. And the ill-conceived casting doesn’t help.

On a remote island topped only by a village and a posh school, a group of girls led by Di (Juno Temple, reprising her ‘Atonement’ role as precocious enfant terrible) cluster adoringly round their beautiful, sophisticated teacher, Miss G (Eva Green). She coaches them in diving – presumably for lack of any more enticing after-school activity, although the metaphorical weight of all that carefully orchestrated falling is like a wallop with a wet fish. All is in harmony, give or take a spot of bullying, until a lovely Spanish aristocrat turns up and Miss G – who is, surprise, surprise, not quite what she seems – becomes obsessed with the new girl. Scott has fashioned a film as ponderous as it is obvious, weighed down by a string-heavy soundtrack and achingly slow editing, and starring a gorgeous French actress who is as suited to this role –  a hick, British-bred teacher – as Neville Chamberlain was to that of prime minister.

By: Nina Caplan


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday December 4 2009
Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jordan Scott
Screenwriter: Ben Court, Caroline Ip
Cast: Eva Green
Juno Temple
Mariá Valverde
Sinead Cusack