The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Cinema] - SECOND SPRING | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Cinema] - SECOND SPRING

second spring review
Diagnosed with a rare brain condition, a woman embarks on an affair with a gardener.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Andy Kelleher

Starring: Cathy Naden, Indra Ové, Eric Richard, Matthew Jure, Jerry Killick

second spring poster

Watching Second Spring, director Andy Kelleher and writer Martin Herron’s character study of a middle-aged woman, Kathy (Cathy Naden) succumbing to a rare brain condition which manifests in uncivil social interactions, may well make you a little paranoid about the state of your own mental health. As a complete professional, I try to read as little as possible about screeners before reviewing them, and, like Kathy herself, was unaware of the incoming disease plot point. Being of a kindly nature, I was therefore all for Kathy’s actions in the film’s first act, thinking I was watching a coolly observed celebration of a woman actively having her, you know, second spring.

second spring review

We see Kathy chat up the gardener of the red brick university where she lectures on ancient history; they go for a spin in his old banger, and then Kathy bangs him in the back seat. She then goes on to nonchalantly recount the afternoon to her (boring, steadfast) estranged husband Tim when she gets home. Her family orientated friend chastises Kathy for forgetting one of her kid’s birthdays, and, while playing with a different member of her brood, also bringing a game of Jenga to an untimely halt by pulling out the bottom jeng. The nonplussed mum has a pop at Kathy in that entitled way that certain heterosexual kinspeople do, as if the rest of the world should offer a similar priority to her frankly quotidian children as she is duty bound to. Put simply, Kathy seems to be living the exact sort of life that I aspire to be enjoying when I am of a similar vintage. What a woman.

Problem is though, she is also forgetting things, most notably drying up during a lecture, and also getting a bit confused. Good old Tim arranges for a MRI scan and worst luck, it turns out that Kathy has a rare brain condition which degenerates the frontal lobe of the brain, leading to an increased sex drive, limited impulse control and lack of patience with mediocre social interactions (feeling paranoid yet?!).

second spring review

Kelleher’s direction of this devastating diagnosis is pristine, with his camera kept at a dignified wide to medium distance throughout the film, simply presenting Naden’s superb performance. Herron’s script is similarly discreet too, poignantly essaying the sort of muted, almost mundane, acceptance and resignation that accompanies such bad news in real life.

Kathy has to carry on, but this means a heightened reliance on the gardener she cheerfully had it off with in the film’s opening sequence (Jerry Killick). Nick turns out to be exactly the sort of person who buys an old BMW and calls it vintage. He is in his late fifties and has long hair. But, no good deed goes unpunished, and the extraordinary fortune he experienced earlier in the film now means that he is stuck with Kathy as she begins to regress more and more noticeably.

second spring review

Of course, with Nick being feckless, and Tim just biding his time, this essentially means that Kathy is fundamentally alone. Second Spring tells her story in a way that this is sympathetic, rather than sensationalist. This is, of course, the early duration of an incurable illness wherein the symptoms are an inconvenience; what is terrifying is the prospect of the condition taking over, of how much time there is left before the disorder completely subsumes Kathy. Second Spring captures the preciousness of these moments with not only decorum but rare wit and warmth too. A deeply human film.

Second Spring is in UK cinemas from September 3rd.

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