True Things review: the work of a fearless young filmmaker

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With True Things, director Harry Wootliff cements herself as one of the most fearless young filmmakers working right now – here’s our review.

In 2018, writer-director Harry Wootliff impressed greatly with the simplicity and relatability of her tender debut feature Only You, a film about a young couple attempting to navigate their differences and love for one another. Her latest film goes further into cementing her as a filmmaker who truly understands the power of creating complex characters you can’t help but root for.

Adapted from Deborah Kay Davies’s best-selling novel True Things About Me, the film stars Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre, The Little Stranger, Dark River) as Kate, a naive loner whose life is turned upside down by Tom Burke’s louche ex-con, Blond. Wilson and Jude Law produced the film, alongside The Bureau, BBC Films, and the British Film Institute.

Kate, a troubled single woman in her thirties, is struggling to find happiness and feels trapped in a dead end job she hates. While her disapproving parents have all but given up on her ever making something of herself, Kate’s best friend Allison (Hayley Squires, sublime) believes things could be different if only she agreed to settle for a nice guy with a normal job.

Salvation for Kate comes in the shape of Blond, a handsome drifter she meets at her benefit office job who offers her a way out of her humdrum life. Charmed by his cocksure and nonchalant demeanour, Kate falls head over heels for Blond. He, on the other hand, takes no time in showing her his dangerous and unpredictable side. As their torrid love affair takes a dangerous turn, Kate finally finds the strength to take her life into her own hands.

Wootliff delivers a gorgeously layered, bold, and unabashedly feminist story about a young woman’s journey of discovery and her eventual realisation that she is enough. Elevated by Ashley Connor’s dizzying, intimate, and beautifully composed cinematography, True Things does a great job of depicting Kate’s shambolic journey from browbeaten and subservient, to self-assured and dignified.

Anchored by Wilson and Burke’s electrifying performances and by Wootliff ’s and first-time screenwriter Molly Davies’s commendably sparse dialogue, there is something truly magnificent and unapologetically sensual about this adaptation of Davies’s novel. And while there’s no denying the fact that the film loses its way slightly towards the final chapter, there is still a lot here to admire and appreciate.

Wootliff ’s tenacity and refusal to simplify or spoon-feed the film’s ambiguous denouement is further proof that she is undoubtedly one of the most fearless young filmmakers around, and I for one can’t wait to see what she does next.

True Things is in UK cinemas now.

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