The film starts rather depressingly with a funeral in a small village. Grace (Brenda Blethyn) is a lively middle-aged woman whose husband has just died in a fall from an aircraft without a parachute. Grace lives in a large and comfortable home with staff, and assumes that she will be reasonably well off. She quickly realises that this is not the case. Her late husband made some poor investments, and mortgaged the house. She has no money, and no way of earning…
Her gardener and caretaker Matthew (Craig Ferguson) is a likeable young man who is determined to keep working for her, even as circumstances become more difficult, and there is no way to pay him. His long-term girlfriend Nicky (Valerie Edmond) is the skipper of a fishing trawler, and there’s quite a side story involving their relationship which is both moving and inspiring. She’s a very strong - and also kind - young woman.
Matthew is involved in something a little shady and asks Grace for some help. At first, she is reluctant to give it. However when she realises that the project he is involved in could earn them both large amounts of money, she decides to take a risk. From this point the story becomes somewhat surreal, with a fair amount of humour. As the plot becomes increasingly unbelievable, the two main actors are so good that it’s easy to be carried along with their ideas, and the story in general. Excellent supporting actors, in addition to Nicky, include the doctor (Martin Clunes) and the vicar (Leslie Phillips).
It’s a genre all on its own; we both agreed afterwards that we had never seen anything similar. The main part of the film relates to a subject I know almost nothing about. There are forays into the London underworld - no doubt somewhat sanitised - as well as the mysteries of complex gardening techniques. The romantic element mainly involves the couple already mentioned, although there’s a slightly contrived ending which resolves all the problems and shows another new relationship.
The rating is 15 (R in the United States), which I assume is because of the subject matter. To say more would be a spoiler - but I think I would have put the rating nearer 12. There’s no violence and no nudity, although there’s the end of one intimate scene, some some rather frank discussion, and some humorous innuendoes. There’s not even a vast amount of bad language, although some ‘strong’ words are used.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a highly controversial (and illegal) subject matter.
In the extras, here is a short feature about the making of the film, which we watched and thought interesting. There are also staff/crew interviews.
Review by Sue F copyright 2018 Sue's DVD Reviews