Written, directed, and based on the play The Retreat From Moscow, which are all by William Nicholson, Hope Gap is a story about Grace (Annette Bening) and Edward (Bill Nighy) who have been married for 29 years and live in a small seaside town under the cliffs also called ‘Hope Gap’. Their only son Jamie (Josh O’Connor) comes to visit for the weekend but during his stay Edward informs him that he plans to leave Grace that same weekend.
Edward isn’t happy in the relationship as he believes that he wasn’t the husband that Grace wanted. Plus he has fallen in love with another woman, and although Grace knew that the couple were going through some problems, she never expected that Edward would leave her, sending her into a state of shock. In the aftermath of the separation Jamie is caught in the middle of his two parents, attempting to console his upset mother while also keeping in touch with his father, which starts to take an emotional toll on Jamie. Things don’t get any easier when Edward files for divorce.
Hope Gap is superbly written and is very mature in portraying the breakdown of a family by just being raw, honest and not melodramatic. The three leads do an amazing job of playing their respective characters. Annette Bening makes you feel sorry for Grace while she is having a breakdown during the separation, but you also can relate to Bill Nighy‘s character and understand that Edward is doing the right thing by leaving Grace when he can’t be what she wants him to be. Finally, Josh O’Connor will make you sympathise with his character Jamie, while he puts his life on hold to look after and support both his parents in this sensitive time of need.
The filming locations for Hope Gap are beautiful. As it is set in a little seaside town, there are quite a lot of scenes which take place on the beach. But not the usual sunny beach; a beach that is full of rocks where it is always windy, helping to set the dreary tone of the film which I felt was a nice touch.
Hope Gap is a story about how one family can fall apart and how three lives can change, going through a wave of different emotions whether it be anger, shock or disbelief. It also shows how out of change, new lives begin. Hope Gap is a story that is emotional, funny and feels very real.