Thursday, 20 August 2020

23 Walks (2020) - Movie Review

Gonna keep this one nice and short, since I don’t really have much to add to a film like this. It’s a romantic drama about a couple who meet and get to know each other over the course of the titular 23 walks in the park with their dogs. It’s rather minor-key and pleasant, almost tranquillisingly so, but in that lies its charm.

Dave Johns and Alison Steadman as the main couple are very warm and endearing on-screen, perfectly encapsulating a love story for people who refer to walks as ‘constitutionals’. Their progression isn’t just natural, but seems to actively rub against the regular form for cinematic romance, and I’m not saying that as a bad thing. Seeing a couple on the big screen that isn’t destined to almost-kinda-sorta break up just before the third act is a welcome change of pace.

And then there’s the Ken Loachian social realism on display which, like the core romance, works because it’s largely understated. I mean, it’s not nearly as polemic as something like Sorry We Missed You, although the scene with Dave at the social welfare office is incredibly palpable (there’s something about the architecture that makes people actively lose the will to live just sitting in places like that; I can speak from experience on that much). Add to that some of the wrinkles in his and Steadman’s Fern’s relationship, showing a lot of that very-British hesitance to explain what makes them tick upfront, and there’s some definite spice to be found here.

Films like this aren’t meant to be overthought (stop giggling at the irony). Both for its grey-er intended demographic and as a general feature, it’s quite nice and I can definitely see the appeal in it. I’m just not that crazy about it, I guess.

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