Do try and see little British gem Radiator **** by writer-director Tom Browne. A bit like the current film of Lady in the Van uses Alan Bennett’s real house in Camden, Tom’s debut feature is set in his real parents’ house in the wilds of Cumbria, which gives the film an extra patina of specificity, thus allowing it to seep into all our lives and experience.
The film’s about a man, Daniel, who’s suddenly called by his Mum (Gemma Jones, just wonderful) because his irascible dad Leonard (the legendary Richard Johnson, of The Haunting, Khartoum, married briefly to Kim Novak, said no to Dr No – could have been James Bond) refuses to leave the sofa, even to go to the toilet.
Daniel takes leave from his job to come up and sort his parents out, only to realise that this it’s not possible to change a lifetime in three or four days off work.
It becomes a funny, angry, deeply-felt and touching film about parents, love, illness and responsibility. Brilliantly, it never really reveals itself as any of these things and just wraps you up in the three characters, or four, if you count the house, which creaks and sags under the weight of junk and warped windows, a physical reflection of the emotional turbulence, the baggage, of the relationships. Admirable, honest stuff.