Review by Dan Skip Allen
It is always nice to see an actor or actress I like from a television show pops up in a film I am watching and reviewing. In this case, it's Ruth Wilson, who devours scenery as the evil Marisa Coulter in His Dark Materials. In True Things, she's doing something completely different, and I wasn't as impressed with her as I am watching her in her television role.
Wilson plays Kate, a woman going through life like most women her age. She works a full-time job, lives in a small apartment, and sometimes goes out with her co-worker Alison (Hayley Squires, In Fabric). While at work, she meets an old friend she hadn't seen in a while, who she refers to as Blond (Tom Burke, The Souvenir) for his distinctive blonde hair. These two hit it off.
Films like this are a dime a dozen. This plot is where a woman or a man meets someone, and they have a fling to the detriment of their job or family relationships. It's such an overused plot. It's hard for anyone to do something different with this type of story. Even though this was based on the book About Me by Deborah Kay Davies, it doesn't say anything we haven't seen before.
Wilson is doing something different than the other projects she has acted in. She usually plays a confident and well-put-together woman, but this time, her character's relationship with this man takes her away from the typically responsible life she's used to. She goes down a bad path, hurting her job and friendships with those closest to her, including her family. It is always good to see familiar faces doing something different than what they're known for, but in this case, she doesn't go far enough. I wanted to see her go to the next level with this character.
In fact, I don't think this story, by Harry Wootiff and Molly Davies, or the direction by Wootiff, go as far as it should to show these types of characters have struggles in life, with work, sexually and otherwise. Even if this film is based on the author's real life, it's not that hard to realize that it's pretty uneventful. I've seen it done much better before.
True Things is a film that deals with familiar tropes I've seen done over and over again before. Wilson tries her best to do something different in her career, but she doesn't have the best material to do it with. The script and direction by Wootiff and Davies are pretty pedestrian. In better hands, this book could have been adapted with more flare and grit. These stories need to be dirtier and make the viewer care about what the main character is going through. I was just bored of her by the end of the film.
True Things hits VOD on September 9.