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Daphne shows an eye for London

28 September, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Emily Beecham plays a 30-something Londoner in Daphne

DAPHNE
Directed by Peter Mackie Burns
Certificate 15
☆☆

ALL too often, films set in the here and now, on streets we know, dealing with issues that we can all relate to, stumble badly over the cringe factor: for every Attack the Block or Dirty Pretty Things, there is some instantly forgettable geezer caper about geezers. For every Mike Leigh there is a Richard Curtis sugary-sweet carbuncle on the face of a much-loved city, or something that attempts to be gritty realism but feels like a drama class warm-up game.

So it is even more refreshing to discover that Peter Mackie Burns’ debut feature, Daphne, which could be a “cor blimey” nightmare, is nothing of the sort. It is funny without being try-hard, thoughtful without shoving a Mumblecore-style “modern life is rubbish” philosophy down your throat, and has a terrific lead in the shape of Emily Beecham.

Daphne (Beecham) is the 30-odd kitchen worker doing what single 30-something Londoners get up to. Namely, she slaves away for not very much, goes out partying, and trundles around, swerving to avoid life’s little obstacles. A birthday party with family focuses the mind, as does the idea of something romantic that is more than being just a laugh.

There is a little bit of the TV series Fleabag about this, but with a subtlety which Fleabag studiously avoids in the search for gags.

Beecham aces it.

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