Divorcing is such sweet sorrow for Bening and Nighy.
I’ve seen another artisan film called “The Truth,” which barely talks about its characters’ problems, and left me uninterested. It never seemed to let them explain why they’re in a sad state, and who they’re arguing about. But today, I found myself liking “Hope Gap” for possessing the qualities that film lacked.
Set in the UK, it’s about a failed marriage, in which the wife Grace (Annette Bening) refuses to let her husband Edward (Bill Nighy) move on with another woman. In fact, she’s persistent he will come crawling back to her. He can’t, because he loves his mistress, and he could never make Grace happy.
“Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Marriage Story” are among the best movies about divorces, and “Hope Gap” isn’t at their full throttle potential, but it does provide us with tears and sentimental values. And like those movies, they have a son. He’s not a little kid anymore; he’s in his 20s. Jamie (Josh O’Connor) is living his own life away from Seaford, East Sussex, but he receives the call from his father about visiting them this weekend.
That’s when he learns that he is divorcing his mother.
The rest of the movie shows Grace refusing to move on with her life. She tries and tries to communicate with Edward, and that’s why he changes his cellphone number. And Jamie can’t give her his new number. In fact, he’s basically a messenger boy, as he delivers his mother’s messages to his father, regarding their marriage. While in other cases, she tells him that if his father wants to talk to her, he should visit home, which he doesn’t.
Writer/director William Nicholson (“Shadowlands,” “Gladiator”) makes “Hope Gap” a tearjerker, because of how the soon-to-be divorced couple reveal their reasons for how their love story ended. Matter of fact, it wasn’t really a love story, and only their boy gave them their happiness.
Bening, Nighy, and O’Connor all deliver heartbreaking performances as they have their own ways of dealing with their current drama. Tears are found when you least expect them, arguments ensue, and decisions are made. And even outside the divorce, they have minor issues of their own. It does drag on a bit in certain areas, which is why I can’t compare it to “Kramer vs. Kramer” or “Marriage Story,” but it does get you involved with the story, and where the characters will head in their lives.
And the reason the film is called “Hope Gap,” is because the family has a special place by the water, where Jamie used to go as a kid during low tide. It was like his private, special area; and it feels authentic and moving. It represents the nature of the movie.