Relationships can be unique and special, even though they can have their highs and lows. Cinema has explored this greatly, even in British cinema and Anchor and Hope, Carlos Marques-Marcet’s new film, is an impressive example. Set in London, mid-thirties couple Eva and Kat are living on a houseboat and don’t take life super seriously, until one day, Eva decides to start a family. Kat, however, isn’t onboard with that suggestion, because of the obvious problems having a child will entail, as well as possibly losing the bohemian lifestyle she’s worked so hard on. When Kat’s best friend Roger visits from Barcelona, one boozy night results in the decision to have a baby together.

Whilst Anchor and Hope isn’t entirely original as it retreads some familiar clichés and tropes, it retreads them in a way that feels fresh and naturalistic. The joy of this film is that it doesn’t bother playing up to its core themes or fall into melodramatic trappings, but instead the film tells a modern story as shown through the relationships and interactions of the central characters involved. Both women feel trapped in their relationship, as shown through the film’s clever use of confined spaces, before the space becomes wider and everything is resolved by the film’s closing moments.

As much as the movie works on a thematic level, it also succeeds on a visual one too; cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen lights with a warm, homely feel, reflecting the serenity and tranquillity of the couple’s living situation. The key to this film’s success though is down to the central performances by both Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena; their chemistry and emotional weight are felt throughout the entirety of the film in a way that feels genuine and nuanced.

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Anchor and Hope explores the themes of personal aspirations, communication and affection within a central couple when role models are nowhere to be found. The result is a surprisingly charming one, even if the story is somewhat predictable, however it’s both Chaplin and Tena performances and natural chemistry (apparently they’re actual best buds!) that helps make this movie a solid one.

Dir: Carlos Marques-Marcet

Scr: Carlos Marques-Marcet, Jules Nurrish

Cast: Natalia Tena, Oona Chaplin, David Verdaguer, Geraldine Chaplin

Prd: Tono Folguera, Sergi Moreno, Sophie Venner

DOP: Dagmar Weaver-Madsen

Music: Merche Blasco

Country: UK, Spain

Year: 2017

Run time: 112 mins

Anchor and Hope is out now on DVD