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INTIMATE RELATIONS

SYNOPSIS:
Rural England, 1954: in a sleepy little town where propriety, pin-curls and plastic-covered furniture are the order of the day, bored and aging but ideal housewife Marjorie Beasley (Julie Walters) momentarily deviates from what is and isn't "done" by taking in a reference-less male boarder. This is Harold Guppy (Rupert Graves), a handsome but hypoglycemic young ex-sailor, forever popping boiled sweets to restrain his violent temper. On Day One of Harold's stay, Marjorie is already encouraging him to call her "Mum" ;by Day Three they're rolling around in bed together, oblivious to the proximity of both Marjorie's husband and her equally sex-hungry 14-year-old daughter, Joyce. But Joyce soon twigs to the arrangement, and uses her newfound knowledge to blackmail Harold and Marjorie into letting her eavesdrop on their lovemaking sessions. A stifling hot-house atmosphere develops, full of badly kept secrets and barely masked hatreds... a state of affairs tailor-made to end in untimely death.

"There’s something extremely compelling about this black comedy. It creeps up to haunt you, in the same way that Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures gets into the psyche. Perhaps it’s because we’re talking about characters that fit the ‘normal’ definition. They are seemingly leading oh so ordinary, often boring lives, and suddenly things get totally out of hand. From the first jazzy strains of Rosemary Clooney’s sultry ‘Come On To My House’ (I’m gonna give you candy) to the closing refrain of ‘This Ol’ House’, we get the feeling that we are in for something different. It’s an unusual menage a trois - the lodger, the middle aged landlady and her teenage daughter. The characters are intriguing: Marjorie, the staid, morally perverse, sexually frustrated, manipulative housewife, magnificently portrayed by Julie Walters; Harold Guppy, the weak lodger with a sugar deficiency - Rupert Graves is perfect; the precocious daughter Joyce, and Laura Sadler, convincingly twisted; even the family boxer is confused -Princess - named after Princess Margaret, who doesn’t realise he’s male. This film addresses English double standards, and deals with intricate, intimate details with great insight and truth. The fact that Marjorie wants Harold to call her Mum is the epitome of the deception. Almost farcical at times - the initial seduction scene with all three participants is truly bizarre. Intimate Relations is not always a comfortable film. It is filled with complex characters who deny the truth mostly to themselves and live a lie, but characters that we might meet at the shopping mall or the pub. Consequently, as the film draws to a close, the events that transpire become unthinkably shocking and the impact is overwhelming."
Louise Keller

"American critics never got this film and one can understand why. It's a black comedy with incestuous undertones, a film that treats sex in an unfashionably cold but parochially British fashion. Its characters are all an unsympathetic lot with whom audiences, American audiences in particular, would have difficulties identifying with. This is not a film that falls within the Hollywood handbook of conventional cinema, which is why it such a deliciously compelling and unforgettable work. It certainly explores delicate issues, taking apart the British establishment and turning it on its ears. What is more macabre, is that the film is based on a true story making it the more chilling. The period has been painstakingly reproduced. The ultra conservative home run by Marjorie is a symbol of post-war British conservative, making it the fitting setting for its strange, sexual goings on. It's a great character, and Julie Walters plays her to sublime perfection. It's been a while since this actress has been given a role of such clarity and richness, and she takes it on with relish. She's so wonderful, that her co-stars, including Rupert Graves (last seen in the of-beat Different for Girls) shrivel into insignificance. Darkly funny and equally disturbing, Intimate Relations is a compelling and satisfying film that only the Brits could get away with making - and get away with it they do."
Paul Fischer

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INTIMATE RELATIONS (MA)
(UK)

 

CAST: Julie Walters, Rupert Graves, Matthew Walker, Laura Sadler, Holly Aird, Les Dennis, Elizabeth McKechnie

DIRECTOR: Philip Goodhew

PRODUCER: Angela Hart, Lisa Hope, Jon Slan

SCRIPT: Philip Goodhew

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrés Garretón

EDITOR: Pia Di Ciaula

MUSIC: Lawrence Shragge

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Caroline Grevile-Morris

RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 11, 1997, Sydney;
Sept 18, Brisbane;
Nov 6, Melbourne







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