2013 Running time: 100 Certificate: 15 Rating: 2

Synopsis

Love, tragedy and art are inextricably linked in this story set among the bohemian artists of the Cornish "Lamorna Group" just before the Great War. Dominic Cooper plays AJ Munnings, the charismatic leader of the decadent pack who finds himself battling for the affections of the talented Florence Carter-Wood (Emily 'Sucker Punch' Browning). His chief rival is best friend Gilbert Evans (Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens), a decent career soldier who runs the estate where the artist colony lives.

Director

  • Christopher Menaul

Cast

  • Dominic Cooper

  • Emily Browning

  • Dan Stevens

  • Hattie Morahan

  • Mia Austen

  • Shaun Dingwall

Review

It's 1913 and down in deepest Cornwall a group of bohemian painters - the Lamorna Group - is suffering for their art. And after an hour in their company you'll feel like you're suffering too.

Their natural leader is volatile dauber AJ Munnings (Cooper), a fierce talent with a bit of a caddish streak and the glad eye for newly-arrived ingenue Florence (Browning).

She's fled an inappropriate romantic match in London and headed to Cornwall to join her artist brother who's happily immersed himself in the heavy-drinking coterie of paintbrush wielding non-conformists.

However, her entrance has also been clocked by dashing cavalry officer Gilbert Evans (Stevens), BF to AJ and the land agent on whose property the artists have based themselves.

His awkward romantic dithering gives AJ the perfect chance to move in on an obliging Florence... but we all know that she's settled for the wrong chap and it's all going to end in tears.

Based on Jonathan Smith's novel about the Lamorna Group, this - appropriately enough - looks handsome with the Cornish coast resplendently bathed in the light that so appealed to the Newlyn School of artists.

Dramatically, however, it has the feel of a TV movie with none of the characters breaking out of two dimensions and all too often lurching into self-parody.

Cooper has little to play with - a boorish genius who displays his maverick brilliance by barking poetry at what appear to be strays from the Bullingdon Club in the local boozer.

For an ethereal naif, Florence comes across as a bit of drip while Stevens' army officer is a decent-minded cove whose worst experience in the theatre of war appears to be eating horse soup.

Ultimately, it's a competent, if uninspired, chronicle of an intriguing community hamstrung by that worthily reverential approach that afflicts British film-makers.