Directed by Peter Mackie Burns
Daphne is a young woman negotiating the tricky business of modern life. Caught in the daily rush of her restaurant job and a nightlife kaleidoscope of new faces, she is witty, funny, the life of the party. Too busy to realise that deep down she is not happy. When she saves the life of a shopkeeper stabbed in a failed robbery, the impenetrable armour she wears to protect herself begins to crack, and Daphne is forced to confront the inevitability of a much-needed change in her life.
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★★★★½ review by Steve Lovecraft on Letterboxd
Imagine a rom-com written by Slavoj Zizek. I know, it's difficult, but aside from the heavy Zizek name-dropping at the start of it, Daphne is a sad, funny, neurotic, and brutally honest take on love (or lack thereof) in the post-Reaganomics western world. Our heroine, Daphne, is played by a Natasha Kinski-meets-Bryce Dallas Howard debutante (and so much more): Emily Beecham. This too-smart-for-her-own-good boozer/line cook isn't even trying to deal with her problems. She is a train wreck, and I don't mean a burnt-out sorority girl with a substance abuse problem and a dirty mouth a la Amy Schumer. Daphne has peered past the veil of reality to gaze upon the disillusionment of everything held sacred by traditional society and decided to wallow in self-destructive hedonism. Think of a young, well-read Jerri Blank who never turned to petty crime. In this entrancing character study, Beecham knocks it out of the park with her charisma and pathos. Every time you think the scene will end in some saccharine too-good-to-be-true chick flick "aww", you just get pummeled with another cynical emotional shutdown. For some reason, it hurts but it feels sooo refreshing. Daphne, in all of her chaos, controls the conversation, and for anyone looking for a guttural guffaw from the wretched depths of their soul, there are a few moments that might bring those rarely indulged demons to light. Add to the darkness a few glimmers of indubitable wisdom, and I would say you have an all around excellent film in Peter Mackie Burns' Daphne.
★★★★ review by Mark Cunliffe on Letterboxd
I have to thank my dear friend Michael for tipping me off about this being the kind of film that is right up my street. He's right of course, but on the whole I'm not sure how Daphne, as a film, makes me feel. On the one hand I am really pleased to see so many female-led films currently addressing the sort of universal existential woes of late Gen X/early Millennials, however I can't escape the fact that the films that predominantly speak to me as a person right now are all female-centric: where are the films that address the same issues I relate to in a similar honest and authentic manner for male characters? Perhaps they do exist but the fact that I can't really recall them right now means they clearly don't chime all that much with me, which makes me wonder whether I should be applauding the fact that cinema (or more realistically speaking, independent cinema at least) is currently progressive enough to focus on believable central female characters at last, whether I should be lamenting the disappointing vacancy at the heart of the medium and its failings in representing my character, or wondering what it says about me that I identify much more with female led stories? Whatever, I can't fault this film and in particular, Emily Beecham's incredibly believable performance in the central role.
★★★½ review by Brian Tallerico on Letterboxd
A breakthrough performance.
★★★★ review by Joel on Letterboxd
Really liked this little British indie film about a single woman living in London whose life is falling apart. It’s brazenly unsentimental, and doesn’t romanticise it’s characters, least of all it’s eponymous lead, who is the most flawed one of all, and yet somehow charming, likeable and vulnerable despite her more obvious failings. It helps that Emily Beecham is a wonderful actress and gives a very nuanced performance.
★★★★ review by Andrew Craddock on Letterboxd
A wonderfully moody UK indie film propped up predominantly by a fantastic lead performance from Emily Beecham, who continually won me over.
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