An endearing film in which the forging of an unexpected bond allows its characters to redeem their own shortcomings, both past and present, The Carer is as much about accepting the end of one’s prime as it is about friendship.
Seasoned Shakespearean veteran Brian Cox plays Sir Michael Gifford, a thespian not so unlike himself, who finds, in his retirement, that he is an irascibly quick-witted and incontinent old man. His daughter, Sophia (Emilia Fox), insists on hiring a caregiver to help her ailing father and employs Dorottya (Coco König), an aspiring young Hungarian actress. Always speaking her mind and doing what she thinks is right, Dorottya oversteps her bounds in Sophia’s opinion, however, in going beyond her role as simply caretaker, the young woman allows Sir Michael to give his final encore and to age with grace and dignity.
Gifford’s penchant to relive past performances combined with the character’s explosive temperament provides Cox with a fun and varied role in which he shines and clearly plays the part with fun and effortlessness. At times, newcomer Coco König’s performance doesn’t flow as seamlessly, but she is thoroughly propped up by Cox and the rest of the cast. Fox and Anna Chancellor, who plays Milly, the housekeeper and Gifford’s lifelong companion, do well in presenting confrontation to both Gifford and Dorottya while also maintaining the audience’s sympathy.
Music by Atti Pacsay is beautifully matched to Tibor Máthé’s elegant depictions of Gifford’s country estate. It is uncertain how comfortable people will feel laughing post-Brexit at much of the prescriptivist-based humour in the script, which also reveals the characters’ ethnocentric short-sightedness. But once audiences realise that it’s all part of the playful comedy, they will relish those moments when Dorottya gets the last word and the last laugh.
The Carer is released nationwide on 5th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Carer here: