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Body of Water is a sombre, painful British movie from first-time feature director Lucy Brydon. I’m still not sure what I think about this film’s overall narrative direction, or how other people affected by the issues are going to take it – but it certainly functions as an unflinchingly forthright examination of what is at stake.
The film concerns a family dysfunction over three generations: Stephanie (Sian Brooke) is a photographer and single mum who has an eating disorder, depression and drug problems, and while she has been away in one of her many stays in rehab, her angry, troubled teen daughter Pearl (Fabienne Piolini-Castle) has been living with Stephanie’s mum Susan (Amanda Burton) who has enough to worry about with her imminent wedding to her new partner Annette (Kazia Pelka). Stephanie returns home with her problems unsolved and perhaps even further complicated by her relationship with her handsome nurse Shaun (Nick Blood), who is coming round and offering his home number for chats more readily than other professionals might. She also has an unhealthy, addictive relationship with social media, where she posts pictures of her emaciated body for likes and attention – the validation she isn’t getting in real life. Online, she feels seen.
Body of Water addresses something often overlooked: eating disorders aren’t just for teenagers, and this shows that some of Stephanie’s mortification and pain is that she, a grown woman, feels infantilised both by the disorder and the treatment. She is excruciated by self-consciousness about her body and so this is a catastrophically bad time to be trying on (awful) bridesmaid’s dresses – in shared clothing store changing rooms with Pearl, what’s more – and then coming out to show them to her watchful and dissatisfied mother, Susan. In another sort of movie, that would be a scene of the purest black comedy. Not here. The return to Susan is in one way the worst things that could have happened, although Stephanie’s relapse (if it can be called so) can hardly be blamed on her mother. A sobering, difficult but intelligent drama.
Source: The Guardian
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