London Film Festival 2019: Lynn + Lucy

Rating: ★★★★

The titular characters in Lynn + Lucy are lifelong best friends, and even live opposite each other on the same street. But the film explores tragic circumstances where a bond this strong can swiftly be broken.

Lynn (Roxanne Scrimshaw) is a married stay-at-home mum turned hairdressing assistant, who is delighted when her best friend Lucy (Nichola Burley) gives birth to her first child. But she is clearly struggling with a new baby and her volatile relationship.

The two friends differ in a lot of ways, as Lynn seems more grounded and content with being a mother, whereas Lucy is a party animal, impulsive and misses life before motherhood. Yet their friendship works and has stood the test of time – until one awful day where everything changes.

Lynn + Lucy plays like an elevated soap opera, that’s reminiscent of kitchen sink realism. The film is fuelled by honest depictions of everyday domestic life, and as a result you won’t see any beautiful cinematography from this.

It’s bleak, it’s raw, and it even feels intrusive at times. It’s likely you’ll feel uncomfortable watching this as a result. Director and writer Fyzal Boulifa forces you to join this community even if you don’t want to be there.

As we’re given insight into what happens behind closed doors, we’re able to see exactly why Lynn and Lucy’s friendship rapidly falls apart. It’s not long before others start gossiping about the tragedy that unfolds for the two friends and the community they live in.

Lynn is forced to get a job as her husband is injured and she’s never been employed before, so she goes to a hairdressers owned by a former classmate. There is certainly a hierarchy there, Lynn sweeps the floors and makes teas and coffees, whilst being reminded that it’s typically a job for a school leaver.

But with no formal qualifications on her CV, it’s all she’s got. And salon owner Janelle (Jennifer Lee Moon) makes sure Lynn knows that, making her life hell and talking about her behind her back. However, Lynn grows close to hairdresser Caroline (Kacey Ainsworth) once her friendship with Lucy is tested.

The salon feels like a high school clique, and is a sad reminder of history repeating itself. I really enjoyed the performances here as it reflected the bleak, realistic nature of the overall story, and how horrible people can still be even when several years have passed.

Lynn + Lucy is a tragic, sometimes amusing, look at working class families and close knit communities, as well as the devastating effects of a personal tragedy.

Expect very difficult themes, lingering camera shots, and a sinking feeling in your stomach at the end. Bring tissues.

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