Following his father’s death from a debilitating disease, Paul (Colin Morgan – Merlin, Humans) is faced with an emotional and financial hole in the family. As he digs into his dad’s military past he discovers an increasingly shady tale of violence and scandal. Travelling to the south of France in search of the truth, he finds enigmatic musician Madeleine Brown (Fanny Ardant), who Paul suspects holds the key to unearthing his father’s story.
Waiting for You marks Charles Garrad’s directorial debut after a decades-spanning career as a production designer on such films as The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain and The Serpent’s Kiss.
Here he concocts a slow-burning mystery that boils over into melodrama and doesn’t quite convince or engage emotionally. Simmering tensions born from colonialism and war crimes become glossed-over by soapy scandal, and a subplot pursuing Paul’s affair with a young local woman is a pointless flirtation, wasting precious time that might have been better spent on brewing a deeper narrative.
Yet the film is handsomely shot, with Garrad and cinematographer David Raedeker (My Brother the Devil, Downton Abbey) making full use of the southern French countryside and the rustic château around which the story unravels. Ardant recalls her work with François Truffaut with a cool and composed performance that gives just enough hint of tragedy and trauma, while Morgan’s bewildered-Brit-abroad finds the right balance between maturity and his impulsive desire for the truth.
A pretty picture with a promising start that gets a bit lost amidst its own plot twists, Waiting for You is out in UK cinemas from 26th October.
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