EIFF 2016 Review: Adult Life Skills (2016)

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The debut of writer and director Rachel Tunnard is a heartfelt crisis comedy starring Jodie Whittaker as Anna, a soon-to-be-thirty half twin who’s mourning the death of her brother while living in her mother’s shed and shirking responsibility. Tunnard’s writing comes from a place of raw honesty, which makes the issues tackled – that of bereavement and identity crossroads – all the more affecting. Whittaker takes Anna and makes her into a real person, her flaws – and even her kookiness – identifiable. Her brother’s death has sent her into a backwards spin, regressing into the carefree childhood they shared together. No matter how hard her friends and family try to coax her into moving on and moving out, she’s the only one who can snap herself out of it. It’s a film that, while serious, isn’t without humour. But instead of being tacked on as an extra, it comes organically from the situations Anna experiences, awkward or otherwise. The direction from Tunnard is assured, making the most of natural elements, such as lighting and the expressive British climate, and it boasts a wonderfully lived-in quality that leaves it lingering in the mind.

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