True Things 

Ruth Wilson is surely one our most daring and thoughtful stars, capable of hiding mischief and chaos behind a polite, pretty facade.

She’s absolutely riveting to watch in True Things, a gritty British seaside love story that veers from social satire to sex to heartache in the time it takes for every conceivable emotion to flicker across Wilson’s intriguing face.

I always find her such an alive presence, instantly relatable yet always surprising – you never know how she’ll react as she skilfully commands the screen with her darting eyes and that curious mouth, quivering between a smile and a snarl, poised between a kiss and a scream.

Although it’s a low-budget British piece, True Things is – as the title suggests – the most honest film she’s made, and the best part she’s ever had. She plays a woman, Kate, approaching 30, bored of her work in a Ramsgate job centre but who gets a sudden injection of excitement when a rough-looking bloke with dyed blond hair starts flirting with her, asking her out instead of filling in his benefit forms.

Before you can say The Affair, they’re having it off in a multi-storey car park, unromantic and reckless and quite funny, really. You can see it’s hardly the first time for either of these characters – she simply types the name Blond into her phone – but you feel that Kate’s the one going to get hurt. Thing is, she knows it, too.

And that’s the gripping power of True Things, directed by Harry Wootliff, who’s carving a niche for herself as a maker of sexy yet realistic films in a British film industry that’s forever embarrassed by sexiness. 

The feminist perspective here is clear, but it’s also bravely messy and painful. Blond is played by Tom Burke (his second turn as a ‘wrong’un’ following The Souvenir) and though it’s quite obvious he’s the last person you’d lend your car keys to, Kate repeatedly sabotages her life for this lad.

This is what Ruth Wilson does so well, charting the highs and thrills of her naughty new crush like an ecstatic schoolgirl, yet feeling the lashes of adult regret and shame when it all comes crashing down and her exhausted best friend (Hayley Squires) is on hand with another look of “I told you so”. 

Kate’s way too good for Blond – he knows it as much as we do – and it’s Wilson’s connection with us as a performer that allows us to sit in gossipy judgement over her, to care for her character as much as her mates might, and her exasperated parents do. 

Through Wilson’s tenderly raw performance, we reckon we understand Kate’s agonies and her joys, so we’re as desperate as she is for her to find whatever it is she’s looking for. 

Just hope she’s learned it’s unlikely to be sitting there for her, on level 4 of a smelly seaside car park.