21 January 2018



'It is the pity. She pities you.'

Poor Daphne. She really hasn't got her shit together yet, despite being thirty-one years old and giving every outward appearance of being a sussed Londoner and an all-round tough cookie. She works as a trainee chef in a restaurant run by Nidge from LOVE/HATE and she's got a great apartment with a snake in it. It's Daphne's snake; I don't think he came with the apartment or anything.

She's got her health, although she seems hell-bent on ruining it with fags, booze and even drugs like cocaine, but then I suppose that smart Londoners in films in her age group all take cocaine as a matter of course, lol. She's not bad-looking, with the kind of brazenly red hair that usually denotes defiance and an annoying quirkiness in the owner.

If the hair is done nicely, it means that it's a relatively good day. If the ponytail is on arseways, then it signifies that too much booze (is there such a thing?) has been partaken of and the possessor of the ponytail has woken up on the floor with a mouth like an ashtray and a gob of stranger's mis-directed cum in the left eye, excuse my French.

Yes, excuse my French but this is the kind of film, and Daphne the kind of anti-heroine, that talks openly about 'fucking' as opposed to making love or even having sex. Daphne's altogether too cool for school. She refers to the act of love as 'fucking' straight to guys' faces, even though guys are usually a little bit terrified by women who talk too openly about such things.

She meets total strangers in bars in the middle of the day when she's supposed to be working and, after only a couple of drinks, she's all like: 'So, back to your place then or what?' Then, when they say cautiously: 'What for?,' testing the waters as it were, she replies with a witty and worldly: 'What for, he asks?' As if it could possibly be for anything other than sex, in other words.

There's a scene in the movie where she does exactly this and the guy is so obviously not good enough for her, a fact she'd have noticed for herself if she hadn't been blotto. He's old and bald with a beard, for Chrissakes. Nice flat, though. But the sex is gross and uncomfortable for Daphne and when it finishes she asks the guy: 'Have you got any wet wipes?' Eeuw, eeuw, a thousand times eeuw.

Daphne's boss Joe/Nidge is a baldy auld fella who's married with kids and who says of his life: 'I never wanted kids. They just arrived.' What, like a package from IKEA? This kind of thing makes me sick to my stomach. If this loser a**hole didn't want the responsibility of becoming a father several times over, then he should have put a little rain mac on his John Thomas and bloody well kept it there. Dickhead.

Of course he's 'in love,' or so he says, with our Daffers but she pushes him away with drunken witticisms like: 'Don't touch the merchandise, you fucker.' An affair with this guy would lead precisely nowhere, that's if you equate 123, Heartbreak-Over-A-Married-Man Terrace with the middle of nowhere, which I totally do. Is Daphne smart enough to realise this...?

She has a mother who still loves and cares about her, prickly little hedgehog that she is. The mum is played by Geraldine James, an actress I've always liked. Mum and daughter scrap like cat and dog, mostly over Daphne not taking the Mum's calls, even though her mother's number is clearly listed in Daphne's phone under 'The Mother Ship,' lol.

Daphne says things to her Mum like: 'Why have you still got a fucking key to my flat?' and the Mum counters wittily with: 'What happens when you kill yourself? Who's gonna let the
police in?' Very funny.

Mum is recovering from cancer, which fact you would think would bring the pair closer together, but Daphne is the prickly hedgehog I mentioned earlier and she pushes people away, especially the people who might be able to help her get over herself. That's something she's in dire need of, if you ask me.

There's a bouncer called David, who once had the pleasure of booting a pissed Daphne out of his club, who wants to get close to her but she's not a very good date. Total headwrecker, in fact. Keeps running off after spouting utter nonsense about Freud and his definition of love.

Apparently, Freud thought it was a sickness and a disappointment and all of that. Well, he might be right at that but it hardly makes for interesting or fulfilling Date Night conversation. I would've thought that it'd turn guys off, talking about anything as incendiary as love on a first date.

By the way, would David be so keen to go out with Daphne if he'd seen her vomiting up her lager-and-cocaine cocktails on the path outside the club instead of just giving him the finger and calling him 'a fabulous cunt' (which he actually seems to think is a compliment) in her irritatingly quirky way before swanning off without a backward look?

I think not, dear readers, I think not. Methinks love withers and dies on the bough when a man sees the contents of a girl's stomach set out, crazy-paving-style, before him on the ground outside of where he works. Diced carrots optional...

What exactly is Daphne's problem? Why does she sabotage herself at every turn? She has everything going for her, so why is she all miserable and mopey and pushing all the self-destruct buttons she can het her sweaty little mitts on?

A friend of mine dismissed the film as just 'posh rich people acting c**ty about their First World problems' and there's a certain element of that about it, certainly. But it's always sad to see someone throw away their life and its being a posh rich person makes no difference.

Maybe it's even more aggravating to see a posh rich person do this, because they've had all the privileges and the advantages of a good education and a cushy environment and what have you. They don't have the excuses that more disadvantaged people have for screwing up in life, is that it, maybe?

Anyway, Daphne might just start to evaluate her wasted life when she witnesses a traumatic event in the form of a convenience store hold-up and the stabbing of an Asian store clerk who, to Daphne's amazement, has a name, a family who love him and real feelings just like everyone else. He's not just a cardboard cut-out stood behind a till all day.

Daphne's behaviour at her victim counselling is pure Daphne. 'Why've you got all the Harry Potter books on your shelf?' she asks the counsellor before running off in that annoying way she has. It's funny, though, the way that she confesses her true feelings about the stabbing to a total stranger on the bus, a mother holding a child, feelings she was wholly unable to share in the supposed 'right place' and at the supposed 'right time.' Life's funny like that. So's Daphne, but then she's a flaming redhead, innit? Comes with the territory.

I have three further comments to make regarding this film. One, how does she manage to fit her whole head through the bars of the railings in work like that? No-one of sound mind puts their head through bars like that. Two, I thought this was going to be a film about acclaimed writer Daphne Du Maurier but it's so not. Three, it's billed as a comedy but do you see me laughing?

Altitude Film Distribution is pleased to announce that DAPHNE – the vibrant British comedy that received its UK premiere at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (screening in the Best of British category) and where lead actress Emily Beecham won Best Performance in a British Feature Film  is available to Download now and will be available on DVD from 22nd January 2018 (pre-order now from Amazon). Beecham is also nominated for her role as Daphne in the Best Actress category at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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