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Here’s a bland daytime telly-ish romantic drama that might have been made as propaganda for the current urban exodus – an advert for moving to the countryside, where folks from the city can find their inner compass while milking goats and making organic cheese. Actually, some of the film’s best casting is four-legged – the friesians are beauties and the glossily bearded goats have wonderfully expressive faces. The human actors are a bit flat by comparison, struggling a bit with director Vicky Wight’s Hallmark-card script, adapted from a novel by Katherine Center.
Leslie Bibb is Libby, a woman whose nice, middle-class life in Houston falls apart after her husband dies in a car crash. Flat broke, she has no choice but to load up her kids in the car and move in with her estranged Aunt Jean, who has a farm in the sticks. Libby’s children are freakishly compliant with this upheaval, and Jean (Nora Dunn) turns out to be exactly the kind of warm, no-nonsense country aunt required in a crisis, always in the kitchen knuckle-deep in pastry or delivering homespun wisdom (“We are made of magic and resilience, Libby”). Better still, there’s a hot farmhand played by Josh Duhamel – though, like I say, you get more emotion from the goats.
The Lost Husband is the kind of film that has “heartwarming” plastered across the promotional materials from script stage. But any actual feeling here is protected by a “keep out” sign. Libby’s grief, her anger at her husband for dying, her anxiety about the future – none of these get much of a look-in, as if they might spoil the luxuriance of this rustic idyll. The film’s quaint view of farm life doesn’t bear much scrutiny either: a dozen or so goats providing milk for artisanal cheese sold at farmers’ markets seem to sustain an entire family.
• The Lost Husband is on digital platforms from 7 September.
Source: The Guardian
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