Belonging (2004) starring Brenda Blethyn, Kevin Whately, Rosemary Harris, Anna Massey, Peter Sallis, Jill Baker, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Matthew Marsh directed by Christopher Menaul Movie Review

Belonging (2004)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Brenda Blethyn in Belonging (2004)

A Sense of Purpose

Jess Copplestone (Brenda Blethyn - Blizzard) has been happily married to Jacob (Kevin Whately) for 20 years with the only blip on the landscape being that they live with his elderly mother May (Rosemary Harris - Spider-man) and his other elderly relatives; aunt Brenda (Anna Massey) and his devoutly religious elderly cousin Nathan (Peter Sallis). That is until Jacob just leaves her for a younger woman leaving Jess to care for his elderly relatives on her own whilst coming to terms with having a new life to live with freedom which she has never experienced before.

The one thing which I have come to expect is that when a movie stars Brenda Blethyn not to expect the obvious. And in some ways that is the one stumbling block which "Belonging" has because the set up of a middle aged woman having to deal with her husband leaving her for a younger woman immediately makes you think this will be about a woman getting the new life she deserves. But as I said that is the obvious expectation and one you should discard as instead it deals more with a woman losing a sense of purpose when her life gets turned upside down.

Rosemary Harris and Anna Massey in Belonging (2004)

It is the same when it comes to the set up of Jess being left with these quirky elderly relatives from the curmudgeonly May to the devoutly religious Nathan as this screams comedy built on interfering old people. But again it is something you need to discard as whilst there is humour the comedy of these interfering relatives is not the focus of the movie.

Now that might put some people off but "Belonging" is well worth tracking down to watch because it is a showcase of British talent. Brenda Blethyn is brilliant as Jess, coming to terms with her husband walking out whilst dealing with these elderly relatives demanding her attention with a brilliant scene where May can't get to the toilet in time and wets herself uncaring that Jess is at that moment in pieces over Jacob walking out. And Blethyn sells that sense of being lost when the life you have built suddenly changes and you don't know how to handle the change.

On the subject of May Rosemary Harris is amazing as the demanding mother who bosses Jess about and hits things with her cane as she tries to rule the roost. It is this strange mix of being dramatic yet funny but yet not actually comedy. The actual comedy comes more from the wonderful Peter Sallis who steals many a scene as the slow moving Nathan as he tries to be helpful and Anna Massey as the caring Aunt Brenda.

As I said it is very much the acting which makes "Belonging" such an entertaining movie and each of the actors including Kevin Whately as the weak minded Jacob deliver multi dimensional characters which amuse, anger and touch you. As I said it is a showcase of British talent and it is worth seeing just to see some of these older actors showing how it is done.

What this all boils down to is that "Belonging" won't be to everyone's taste due to the way the story plays out as it bucks the trend of what most movies would do. But the showcase of British talent makes it a wonderful movie which will move, amuse and at times frustrate you.