Unrelated ★★★★

I had recently tried to watch Joanna Hogg's acclaimed 2019 film "The Souvenir" and couldn't get into it. But I had an entirely different response to her debut feature "Unrelated" and was quite drawn into the understated story and the emotions it evoked.

Set in Tuscany, it's about a 40-something woman Anna, recently estranged from her husband, who joins a married friend and her family on a holiday with another family, staying at a rented villa. From the beginning, Anna is an outsider, feeling alone and childless in two families, not really embraced by the adults and joining instead with the older teenage children in the group who also don't fully include her. She's also less privileged than the rest of the entourage and is subtly reminded of this. It's a study of loneliness, regret and not fitting in.

Kathryn Worth is quite good as Anna, and the other actors as well, including a young Tom Hiddleston as one of the young people who's good-looking and knows it, encouraging then rejecting a flirtation with Anna. The plot is really not the point here, it's much more of a character study with underlying messages about class, exclusion and silent suffering. I must say that I was quite impressed, and it makes me want to take another look at "The Souvenir" as well as other Hogg films.

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