True Things is a relationship drama with a stellar central performance from Ruth Wilson, masking a story that never quite catches fire. Based on Deborah Kay Davies’ book, Wilson plays Kate, a supposedly dowdy woman, lost and drifting through life with no significant other. She works at a job centre, her snarky humour infuriating her employers, then she meets a dyed blond Tom Burke, whose confidence and arrogance sweeps her off her feet and they enter into a torrid, passionate relationship.
Burke, however, is not all he seems: taking her car for himself, disappearing and reappearing on a whim and operating by his own selfish rules. Wilson is initially besotted, but then the scales start to fall from her eyes, as she gradually implodes.
A story about gaslighting, toxic masculinity and self-discovery, True Things is propelled by Wilson, despite her being obviously more capable than her character. The film is on her shoulder throughout, as she deals with ups and downs at work; with her disappointed mother and supportive father; and, ultimately, as she comes to realise who she is with. Yet there is little tension: Burke is obviously bad news from the off and as Wilson descends into chaos, it doesn’t quite ring true.
Director Wootliff allows Wilson to do the heavy lifting; there are some steamy moments, but Wilson hardly seems the ugly duckling that needs the initial barrow-boy charms of Burke to make sense of her life. A flawed drama, well-acted, that immerses but often irritates.
Dir: Harry Wootliff (15, 102 mins)
Out Fri 1 Apr
words KEIRON SELF
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