Fathers Of Girls (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/11/2010

One out of Five stars
Running time: 76 mins

Tedious, sluggish drama with a poorly written script, subdued direction and what looks suspiciously like a favour-to-a-mate performance from Ray Winstone.

What's it all about?
Co-directed by Ethem Cetintas and actor-turned-director Karl Howman (you may or may not remember him as Jacko from TV's Brush Strokes), Fathers of Girls stars Ray Winstone as widowed solicitor Frank Horner, who's raised his beloved daughter Helen (Lois Winstone) since his wife died in childbirth. When Helen leaves home to study Costume Design, Frank tries to hide how upset he is, but that's nothing to the shock he receives ten months later, when he learns that Helen has died of a drug overdose.

Realising that he didn't know his daughter nearly as well as he thought he did, Frank goes deep into the seedy underworld of Wiltshire to try and find Helen's dealer. Meanwhile, he forges a tentative friendship with one of Helen's friends (Chloe Howman) as he tries to come to terms with her death.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is the weighty, sluggish direction – everything happens r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y and the effect is a bit like being under sedation. Similarly, the film isn't sure whether it wants to be a mystery or an emotional drama and ends up failing at both.

Ray Winstone is fine but this feels suspiciously like a favour-to-a-mate performance, a suspicion backed up by the fact that the female leads are played by the daughters of the lead actor and the co-writer/director, respectively. On top of that, the voiceover-heavy script often feels like it's been written by a Ray Winstone Catchphrase Generator, with Winstone randomly intoning things like “'ow abaaht a nice cuppa tea?” in a Phil Mitchell-style growl.

The Worse
Ultimately, it's hard to care about either Helen or Frank and his wistful eulogies to his “princess” don't carry the emotional impact the film is hoping for.

Worth seeing?
This is a disappointing, frequently dull drama with a lacklustre lead performance, dodgy direction and a script that struggles to find the right tone. One to avoid.

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Content updated: 21/07/2018 20:41

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