in Film/TV Commentary

Aidan Turner in HATTIE

Aidan Turner in HATTIE (2011)

Spoilers ahead.

You have been warned.

HATTIE is a beautiful and emotional period film (England, 1960s) based on the events of actress, Hattie Jacques and her relationships with her husband John LeMesurier and her lover, John Schofield (played by Turner).

Yes. Both were named John. This was awkward enough. But then they up the ante when John Schofield moves in to the rental room in Hattie and her husband’s house. Yeah? Well, I see that, and I raise you one more chip-of-awkward: Such as when Husband-John and Lover-John TRADE ROOMS.

Now! That’s all the plot stuff and general storyline. My point here is to talk about the performances. Remember, I’m completely biased, so if there’s a thesis it would be; Aidan Turner is captivating in his brilliant performance as John Schofield.

(No, really, SPOILERS!)

Ruth Jones (Hattie) and Robert Bathurst (John LeMesurier) both provide extraordinary and nuanced portrayals of their characters. The addition of Aidan Turner amplifies the drama with an evident intense chemistry. He’s first scene is starts with a casual introduction as Hattie Jacques” driver. It continues into a challenging, inquisitive banter, and then drops into a heart-breaking confession of his four-year old son’s death from leukemia. He pulls his character out of the depth of grief with an understandable edge of anger then steers it back to casual interaction again. The final moment here leads his character to a sudden and bold move of expressing his attraction to Hattie with a prolonged, passionate kiss. Then just as abruptly, he’s back in the car and driving away.

Now, seriously. I’m not one to gush over an actor just for their looks. (Mind you…) Aidan Turner deserves raving, emphatic praise for this performance. And that’s just the first ten minutes of his appearance. He continues to bring just as much life and nuance to John Schofield throughout the film.

So, you may be wondering if there is anything I have to say against HATTIE, right? Because credibility and professionalism is found in balance…I suppose. Well, let’s see. The only thing I have to say pertain to elements of the characters. Like; John Schofield’s constant corrective comments, telling Hattie to stop putting herself down (for her weight and such). I get that he’s trying to show that his affection for her doesn’t factor that in. But constant corrective statements annoy me. Ah, but there’s the rub… This doesn’t have anything to do with performances or faulty internal logic (or any other buzz-word criticism). That’s my personal problem. Mine. My own

Right. Anyway! Who likes a long review? Didn’t think so.

Key Points:

Riveting performances by all.

Captivating chemistry.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any more awkward, your wife’s lover will move into your bedroom and you’ll move into his. WTF?