Only You (Harry Wootliff, 2018)
For a good half an hour, this film feels too good to be true. I knew it was an unlikely love story, but I immediately assumed that the bear shown in the first few shots was the lover. In fact, settled status Spaniard and arts administrator Elena (Laia Costa) is pipped to a taxi in the early hours of New Year’s Day by DJ and PhD marine biologist Jake (Josh O’Connor) and after arguments over who saw the cab first and her deciding to walk home and he offering to walk her home, they end up going back to her flat to listen to Elvis Costello. The attraction is immediate, even though she’s 35 (but won’t admit it at first) and he is 26.
Their friends like him, his dad (Peter Wight, who was in Rylance’s pyjama Hamlet) like her, everything is hunky dory, until he gets broody. All of her friends are having children, and he’s ready to settle down and raise children.
And then their troubles begin.
I suspect the film survives on whether you buy the idea that a man wants to settle down in this way, and Elena is doubtful even before they move in together. But men do, and perhaps I’m prejudiced by twenty years of a friendship circle which was largely child free. A tightly shot and often out of focus Glasgow offers a granite background to the romance — I recognised a pub before dialogue confirmed the location — and indeed the hand held cinematography keeps a narrow field of focus, meaning the characters frequently blur. The leads are best seen in focus and I must track down Victoria and God’s Own Country to see more of them.
It’s a slow burn, and you grow to like the characters so that it is agony waiting for a happy ending that you are uncertain will come.