2013 Running time: 98 Certificate: 15 Rating: 4

Synopsis

English foreign exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) wreaks emotional havoc when she arrives in the home of American college teacher Keith (Guy Pearce) and his wife Megan (Amy Ryan). Grieving the loss of her surrogate father, the teenager finds herself attracted to her host, a frustrated musician heading into mid-life crisis. Co-writer and director Drake Doremus - who directed Jones in acclaimed romance Like Crazy - fashions a subtly powerful cuckoo-in-the-nest drama.

Director

  • Drake Doremus

Cast

  • Guy Pearce

  • Felicity Jones

  • Amy Ryan

  • Mackenzie Davis

  • Kyle MacLachlan

  • Matthew Daddario

Review

Serene English exhange student Sophie (Jones) proves music is the food of love when she moves in with unfulfilled piano teacher Keith (Pearce) and his family.

He's married to the welcoming Megan (Ryan) in a comfortably sprawling clapboard home in leafy New York State where he is a popular teacher and also fills in as a cellist in the local orchestra.

However, he quietly resents having had to cut short a promising indie guitarist career to have their 17-year-old daughter Lauren (Davis) and his interest in the taciturn Sophie is piqued when she delivers a strikingly virtuoso Chopin performance in class.

Although initially distant with his new lodger, he gradually becomes dreamily obsessed and his attention is reciprocated by the youngster, who we learn is mourning the death of her own father figure back in Berkshire.

Co-writer-director Drake Doremus doesn't overheat the rising sexual tension between Keith and Sophie but delicately charts their mutual attraction as it threatens to put paid to his uneventful marriage.

Mackenzie Davis puts in a valuable peformance as the the daughter who offers Sophie friendship despite having nothing in common with her and is the one who is most disturbed by his father's May-to-September affair.

It's a strikingly authentic chronicle of forbidden love and one that never lapses into melodrama or hits a false note.

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