The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - AROUND THE SUN | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - AROUND THE SUN

around the sun review
A film location scout and an estate agent bond while viewing a property of important literary significance.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Oliver Krimpas

Starring: Gethin Anthony, Cara Theobold

around the sun poster

18th Century philosopher Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle’s seminal science book 'Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds' centres upon a series of conversations between a philosopher and a marquise, who, while taking a starlit stroll in the latter’s ornate garden, discuss the heliocentric model of the universe, the plausibility of extra-terrestrial life and the concept of the multiverse. It is a situation reflected in Around the Sun (sharply directed by Oliver Krimpas from Jonathan Kiefer’s erudite screenplay), wherein Maggie (Cara Theobold), a representative of the repossessed chateau where Fontenelle reputably wrote his opus, meets up with film location scout Bernard (Gethin Anthony). As Bernard sizes up the grounds for a future project, the quixotic Maggie expounds upon Fontenelle’s theory and an attraction grows between the two...

around the sun review

Ahhhhh, but does it and do they?! Taking the superposition of parallel universes as its conceit, Kiefer’s script explores how the same circumstances could play out in different ways, sometimes in significant contrast to the previous events, but more often in a subtle manner. It makes you think: if Fontenelle’s ideas are correct, then there are right now infinite mes reviewing Around the Sun, who, in accordance with the dynamics of the theory, will all harbour slightly different takes on the film...

[ READ MORE: New Release Review - Young Ahmed ]

How often do you get a gentle romantic comedy (in the Renaissance sense of the genre) wherein the two appealingly pleasant leads spend the running time filtering their flirtations through a breezy discussion of mind-blowing metaphysical concepts? Hardly ever. And what’s more is that this amiable two hander is set against the rather lovely backdrop of late-in-the-year Normandy, with its chateaux loci providing everything you could ever want from such a milieu: dusty basements hiding ancient brandy, crammed bookshelves dominating the walls, deep mahogany floorboards that were once trodden by Institut de France luminaries. Anthony and Theobold are very watchable, the latter a striking screen presence with her hair the same deep colour as the burnished autumn leaves the pair wander through. A genial film which strives for something different: five stars!

around the sun review

The problem with Around the Sun is that despite its pretence towards originality, the narrative dynamic relies on the age old bromide which states that a man and a woman who are in any sort of dramatic proximity within a plot must end up getting off with each other/fall in love. What a strange and limited way of seeing the world, and how ridiculous, too (I blame this sort of fairy-tale resolution for the snowflake incels, who were promised, through various teen comedies, that they would eventually end up with the girl and are furious with real life’s lack of accord). Yet, without this assumption, Around the Sun’s varied taxonomy is robbed of any will-they-won’t-they impetus, and simply becomes a film wherein we watch two people having a (slightly repetitive) conversation as they roam a stately home. We all want to get off with someone in a country pile - what makes this pair so special? That they know about physics? So what? One star!

around the sun review

The temporal truth for this final, 616 version of me is somewhere in between. The idea of a potentially romantic encounter playing out in multiple permutations rings true because it's what we do before a date (what if...) and, of course, after (if only I...), a situation which the film sweetly plays with. The two leads project an easy chemistry, although the episodic nature of the plot means that we do not get to know any rendition of the characters long enough to really invest in why they should end up together. However, this doesn’t negate that the two are nice enough company to spend just over an hour with. Occasionally, too, the film veers towards an interesting meta-deconstruction of its generic material (Maggie chastises that she is not ‘some fantasy girl’, which she so is, and there is a pointed break of the fourth wall which is unexpected and arresting). Yes, it's all a bit twee, but it doesn’t ever pretend not to be, and instead Around the Sun revels in its escapist warmth and amiability.

Around the Sun is on UK/ROI VOD from August 4th.

2020 movie reviews