The late night weekend BBC2 schedule is proving to be a goldmine of overlooked low budget British indie movies and this weekend was no exception with Honeymooner, a 2010 film from writer/director Col Spector (Someone Else) snuck in after the snooker at 2:30am Saturday night/Sunday morning.
This no frills jilted romcom stars former Shameless star Gerard Kearns as Fran, a 29 year-old clothing importer whose fiancée (Lisa Faulkner) calls time on their relationship just days before their wedding. Electing to stay in London instead of honeymooning on his own, the depressed Fran fervently hopes that she will see the error of her ways, change her mind and return to him. But when he bumps into her with her new boyfriend he realises his dream of a reconciliation is well and truly off the menu and he has no choice but to try to move on and meet someone new with the help and hindrance of his friends, fellow Northerners Jon (Al Weaver) and Ben (Chris Coghill) who are both in relationships but would rather not be - the exact opposite of Fran's predicament.
Spector based the film on a real life friend's relationship breakdown and developed the project to challenge the media representation of young men as useless, loutish and laddish individuals and instead offer up a male protagonist who is both sensitive and sensible. He scored a bullseye in casting Kearns in the central role, who delivers these traits impeccably to create a fully rounded likeable and sympathetic character despite the down in the dumps, ineffectual mindset and manner. Likewise, Daisy Haggard playing Coghill's girlfriend injects her strong comedic skills and charisma into a role that could, in the hands of another, have felt cliched and obvious as the narrative develops.
As a romcom, Honeymooner isn't a film that is big on laughs or risk taking, nor is it - for better or for worse - in Richard Curtis territory, despite it being set in fashionable Kentish Town with affluent middle class, creative types. What it is is an incisive yet modest look at the pitfalls of relationships and single life that keeps its feet firmly on the ground. I'm torn between rating it 3 stars or 2 and a half out of 5, which may not sound like a lot (though its much better than the one star Radio Times gave it) but it does earn itself a like just for being such a no-nonsense, realistic and enjoyable indie take on the subject matter that, at 70 minutes, does not outstay its welcome.
It gets 3 stars: Nick Drake and Rose Elinor Dougall on the soundtrack - it would be rude not to.