27 September 2023

Nowhere Special

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Writer/director: Uberto Pasolini, Icon Film Distribution.

Nowhere Special is something special … as a terminally ill father attempts to find a new family for his young son before his death. It tugs at the heartstrings.

James Norton (Happy Valley, McMafia, War and Peace, Granchester) heartwarmingly plays John, a 35-year-old window cleaner from Belfast, who has dedicated his life to bringing up his four-year-old son, Michael (played well by Daniel Lamont in his first film). His mother left them soon after giving birth.

Their life is a simple one, made up of universal daily rituals, a life of complete dedication and innocent love that reveals the strength of their relationship. John is quiet, reserved, controlled. Michael is loving, sensitive and a little spoilt.

When John is given only a few months to live, he attempts to find a new, perfect family for Michael, determined to shield him from the terrible reality of the situation. He wants his son to understand death.

Michael is thoughtful, quite sombre, who is dealing with grief, but doesn’t understand it yet. Father-and-son navigate this incredibly heartbreaking and challenging time, but in doing so they find immense love, warmth and affection. There are also moments of fun, tragedy and grief. It’s a touching, human story that people will be able to relate to.

Although initially certain of what he is looking for in the perfect family, John gradually abandons his early convictions, overwhelmed by doubts on the decision.

As he struggles to find the right answer to his impossible task, he comes to accept the help of a young social worker, Shona (Eileen O’Higgins, Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scots), who is caring, patient and generous.

A former investment banker, Italian writer-director Uberto Pasolini (The Full Monty, Machan, Still Life) delivers the film in a subtle way, without packing it with excessive histrionics and sentimentality.
It’s compelling to watch with convincing performances, beautiful music from Andrew Simon McAllister and skillfully captured cinematography by Marius Panduru.

  • Nowhere Special is screening in cinemas

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