10th Jul2024

‘Tell That To the Winter Sea’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Greta Bellamacina, Amber Anderson, Tamsin Egerton, Josette Simon | Written by Jaclyn Bethany, Greta Bellamacina | Directed by Jaclyn Bethany

Written by Jaclyn Bethany (who is on directing duties) and Greta Bellamacina (who also stars in a lead role), Tell That To The Winter Sea tells the story of two friends, Jo and Scarlet, who are rekindling their friendship a week before Jo is about to get married.

Tell That To The Winter Sea is a slow and soft film, full of heart. It doesn’t quite achieve all the things I believe it was going for but for a low-budget movie that is dialogue-heavy and reliant on its writing and performances, it mostly impresses. It shows a small, mostly uneventful hen party, with flashbacks showing when the two leads first met.

The two lead performances from Bellamacina (Jo) and Amber Anderson (Scarlet) seem to take a little while to get going. The chemistry isn’t always quite there – although this can often be explained by the awkwardness the script gives to the two characters meeting again after so many years. The problem I had with the scenes of awkwardness, especially at the beginning of the movie, is that they just didn’t seem realistic. There are moments when the characters don’t say anything to each other, and everything feels a bit unnatural.

The other problem the actors had to get through, was playing themselves as teenagers. The characters (and the actors playing them) are around thirty years old, but when we see flashbacks of the two at school, the filmmakers decided to give one a wig and the other has her tied back, and they wear school uniforms. Why they didn’t decide to hire two teenage actresses I’m unsure – although it is more than likely budget restraints. The actors do well in these scenes but it always feels a bit ridiculous because of this choice.

Two actors enter the film a bit later as part of the hen party and each of them impress equally. Tamsin Egerton and Josette Simon, both experienced actors – feel much more at is in their roles and I enjoyed them both.

The score fitted perfectly with the movie, continuing that tenderness throughout and helping with the emotional beats of the film. I didn’t think I was getting very emotionally involved in the two main characters’ stories, and sometimes in the middle third of the runtime, it felt like it was getting a bit lost with the hen party taken centre focus. But the constant flashbacks, despite my issues with them, actually worked to see the connection they have. And when the final words are said on screen, you can’t help but feel the emotion and have a smile on your face.

Directors and writers often want to pack so much into films, and audiences seem to prefer action-heavy cinema. So it’s a brave choice when low-budget filmmakers make a movie like this. Tell That To The Winter Sea is a film a cosy blanket of a film’. The performances are strong in this laid-back but impactful movie.

*** 3/5

Tell That To The Winter Sea will be available to buy & rent on digital from 1st July on all major platforms, and Amazon Prime Video Direct 29th July

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