Review: Daphne (2017)


Daphne (2017)

Directed by: Peter Mackie Burns | 88 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: Emily Beecham, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Nathaniel Martello-White, Osy Ikhile, Geraldine James, Sinead Matthews, Ryan McParland, Ritu Arya

Thirties Daphne Vitale is a line chef in a trendy brasserie in London. In addition to her career where she actually wants to be a sous chef, she leads a fairly grueling life. She has a snake as a pet, is not averse to a line of coke with her friends and she is regularly intoxicated. She has a caring nature, but is self-destructive at the same time. Her mother has thyroid cancer and regularly invites herself unannounced. Her Sicilian father is not in the picture.

One evening, she witnesses a brutal robbery at a convenience store. Shop owner Amir tries to keep his cool, but the robber stabs him for minimal loot. Without any emotion and in complete composure, Daphne acts and tries to assist Amir behind the counter until the ambulance arrives. The only thing that Amir has eyes for is the photo of his family.

The day after also needs to be filled and Daphne goes to the pub on her own to be kicked out of the house. With her charm, she tries to talk the bouncer—who’s called David and gives her his number—to let her back in, but he paternally advises her to just go home. However, Daphne has other, less sensible, plans.

She is skeptical about the victim support she is offered by the police, but after two minutes she walks away. She also declines other help that is offered to her – from her mother and her boss. And yet… It can no longer be like this. Can her boss get through that Daphne is wasting her life and culinary talent? Will Daphne find true love? And what happened to Amir?

Questions, some of which will receive a satisfactory answer in the course of ‘Daphne’ This London-based film by Peter Mackie Burns is one in which not much happens in itself, but which contains a lot of layers between the lines. The cynical, destructive and unnecessarily lonely character of Daphne, played by Emily Beecham (‘Hail Ceasar’), is performed very honestly, making it at times feel like a docu-biography. Collaboration between Beecham and Burns is not new. She also had the lead role in the jet black comedy short ‘Happy Birthday to Me’. ‘Daphne’ is a film that secretly grabs you by the arm and where you hope that Daphne will have a better life, because you wish her.

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