Navigating the modern dating world which has more dark corners than hopeful encounters it seems, so if an exciting opportunity presents itself, it can be difficult to resist. True things is a beast that most of us will recognise, whether we have been the unreliable person or the one who feels as if their world is caving in. Toxic relationships seem to be more a matter of perception but the film takes a look from the inside out, offering not exactly a fresh view but one that lingers on in your mind.
Kate is in her thirties, working a job she doesn’t care about and has next to no social life or friends. She spends her time looking on dating apps looking for a hook up while pretending she wants a relationship. One day she meets a guy who captures her attention to the point she can’t stop thinking about him. Their tentative meetings give her the hope that this could be something but in reality, was it even anything to begin with?
Tom Burke must enjoy portraying difficult men in toxic relationships as he is on top form here. But the star is Ruth Wilson who is absolutely brilliant as Kate, making her seem vulnerable, careless and numb all at the same time. We get hints that what she wants is just to have someone, possibly to travel and just be on a beach, content. But in her day-to-day life she just doesn’t care, making little effort in her job her only friend got her. She doesn’t even look after herself, not even buying food for herself, drinking alone all weekend. When she meets Blond, there’s an immediate spark and she comes to life for a fleeting moment. That brief encounter is what fuels her throughout the film. Any moment she spends with him at first feel adventurous but it is all too obvious that he isn’t interested.
As the story is all from Kate’s perspective, we never really know what Blond has been doing or what motivates him or what he actually wants from her. There is just an assumption made that he’s using her and she lets him. It could be easy to see that this is just another toxic relationship, one sided and incomplete, but as we see Kate implode in all areas of her life, losing the only life lines, its more about her state of mind than just about this man.
We witness all her mistakes and her downfall but we only get to see a small glimpse into her life as she pieces together the quiet life she had before. It’s a shame we don’t get to see more of this, especially after we see her get own version of closure in the relationship with Blond. Its worthy adaptation of the novel by Deborah Kay Davies, although narratively, True Things is not new but it does submerge us into Kate’s world where we feel everything she does and that is what makes this film so intoxicating.
True Things is playing at BFI London Film Festival 6 -17 October