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Nobody Has To Know is a dark, brooding, tear-jerker of a love story

Film review: Nobody Has To Know (12A) – seen at The Light Cinema, Wisbech

Starring: Michelle Fairley, Bouli Lanners, Andrew Still and Julian Glover

Director: Bouli Lanners Run time: One hour, 39 minutes

Nobody Has To Know (12A)
Nobody Has To Know (12A)

This dark, brooding, tear-jerker of a movie set on the Scottish Island of Lewis could just be one of the most original love stories to have featured on the big screen in recent years.

Its slow pace and bleak, dramatic camera shots of the Outer Hebrides make for a truly atmospheric watch as an enthralling, truly human story evolves. Albeit with a sudden and unexpected ending.

Written, directed and filmed by Bouli Lanners, the Belgian actor also stars as middle-aged Phil Haubin, who suffers a stroke which causes him to lose his memory. Michelle Fairley plays his employer’s daughter Millie MacPherson, who tells him falsely that they were secretly in love before his accident.

Lanners is superb as the obviously confused but loveable Belgian Phil, whose tattoos and rock records hint at a more interesting past than his farm labourer present, and it is fantastic to watch Fairley as she changes from the island’s ‘Ice Queen’ into something more akin to a loved-up teenager.

The action and dialogue is slow and deliberate as we see life through the eyes of a middle-aged man discovering such wonders as an empty beach for the first time after his amnesia. There are few other characters save our lovers and those that do appear are quiet and understated.

Indeed, the only real sub-plot involves a Dalmatian dog called Nigel who is found at Phil’s house when he returns from hospital. Others are sure Phil didn’t have a dog and it is gifted to his workmate and Millie’s nephew Brian (Andrew Still)… until its owners come to claim him.

The only thing stopping this film from being truly superb is the timeline. To me it seems to portray but a few days. However, not since reading Rome and Juliet have I known a couple fall in love quite so quickly – and these two are meant to have the maturity of middle age.

Nevertheless, it was a quite beautiful 99 minutes of cinema and refreshing to see a love story featuring people of more advanced years. In fact, I was so invested in its characters that when the aforementioned twist hit home, I really felt the emotional pain.

Rating: 8/10

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