Sex, drugs and strawberries. Strawberry Fields is the latest film by director Frances Lea starring Anna Madeley (as Gillian), Emun Elliot (as Kev), and Christine Bottomley (as Emily).
Set in the quaint Kent countryside, Strawberry Fields explores the intense relationship between two sisters fresh in the paths of suppressed grief after their mother’s death.
We are first introduced to Gillian as she cycles whimsically down rural roads, happening upon a strawberry farm. Here Gillian is instantaneously employed by the dry-witted Bob (Philip Martin Brown), and introduced to the fruit by Kev, her brawny co-worker who takes an immediate interest in her whilst suggestively feeding Gillian a strawberry.
At first Gillian’s life seems to embark on a beautiful journey of self reinvention; that is until her sister, Emily, turns up after being invited by Gillian’s fellow worker, Fabio (Jonathan Bonnici).
Emily and Gillian have an unusual relationship right from the off; jealousy, and competitiveness adorn their otherwise devoted sisterly love like the pips on a strawberry. Emily is the categorical opposite to Gillian: eccentric and imaginative, she endeavours to spoil Gillian’s newfound “fruity” existence on the strawberry farm with Kev.
We watch the female characters battle against each other and their own emotions: with Kev playing the perfect catalyst to unsettle their already fragile affiliation.
Emily gradually pushes their relationship to the brink, dragging Gillian and her self-destructive love interest Kev down with her, and the culmination is an act which quite literally takes a layer of skin off, leaving the characters raw and emotionally exposed.
Stawberry Fields portrays the ultimate juxtaposition: the ugly relationship between two sisters set in a picturesque strawberry farm in the heart of the Kent countryside.
Shot in a fresh, distinctive way, we watch the characters up close, creating an unblemished view of their outlook, seeing the transition of Gillian and Emily warring in a confined space, to Gillian and Kev taking in the captivating expanse of the surrounding countryside.
The film is a refreshing look at a contemporary relationship within timeless surroundings. Once the film starts it holds your attention with the help of well placed humour and empathy. It is well worth watching; if not to laugh and cry at the characters, then for the scenic insight into the beautiful, idyllic landscape.
Strawberry Fields is released on 6th July 2012.