Benjamin (2018)

Feature film dir. Simon Amstell

Open Palm Films

Prods. Louise Simpson, Alexandra Breede, Dominic Dromgoole

Starring Colin Morgan, Phénix Brossard, Jack Rowan, Jessica Raine, Joel Fry

The cue is in the film-within-the-film’s title: No Self. It’s perhaps no surprise that the imminent release of Benjamin’s sophomore feature plunges him into existential crisis. In this heightened state of insecurity, even meeting his potential dream match, young French musician Noah, doesn’t soothe Benjamin’s fears and self-loathing. And that’s before he has to screen his film to the merciless audiences of the BFI London Film Festival… Amstell is working in a low-key, intimate vein here, exposing the contradictions of a London-centric creative culture whilst adroitly balancing drama and comedy. If it’s less suggestively autobiographical than his TV series Grandma’s House (Colin Morgan makes an endearing doppelgänger here), it’s also more cinematic and shows Amstell’s growing confidence as a skilled and nuanced filmmaker.

(Leigh Singer)

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