Certain movies come out of nowhere & have the capacity to blow you away. Unfortunately, sometimes, these movies do not get the hype of some “under the radar” productions & they will get missed, which is a crying shame to be perfectly honest. Blessed, which stars James Nesbitt, is one of those movies that doesn’t seem to be getting the coverage it deserves, as I for one had never even heard of it before my review copy came through my letter box. But is that because it is a movie that is under the radar but deserves a wider audience or because it’s not very good?
Blessed tells the story of Peter, a successful city trader who seems to spend more time with his work than with his wife & two daughters. When he loses them, and everything he truly cares about in the process, his life comes crashing to a stand-still.
Seeking comfort in isolation, Peter moves to a remote island & starts to manage a lighthouse all by himself, until one day a little girlcalled Charlotte arrives after a storm. She is convinced her father, who she was sailing with, is on his way to get her so she decides to stay with Peter until he arrives & her zest for life slowly starts to break through Peter’s paralysis. But can he learn to love & live once more & what will become of this carefree little girl?
The first thing that strikes you about Blessed is the cinematography, because of the beautiful shots of a Scottish loch used during the opening credits, whch is accompanied by the hauntingly beautiful music composed by Mike Moran. It sets the tone for the movie straight away, as there is something unquestionably sad with the images on screen and music.
From these haunting images of natural beauty we get introduced to Peter, a possibly never better performance from James Nesbitt. He is one of my favourite actors anyway, but his performance here is mesmerising.
Throughout the majority of the movie, at least the scenes on the island, he doesn’t speak, as the character has been emotionally crippled by the tragedy that befell his wife & children, and there are not many actors who can carry that kind of thing off, but James Nesbitt manages it flawlessly.
His facial expressions, and the way he carries himself & reacts to things as he lives his life in isolation from the world (if you can call it living – existing might be a better term) is totally believable and, even without dialogue throughout these moments, you know exactly what he is thinking & feeling.
A superb performance, and one that is amazingly counterbalanced by the flashbacks to his previous life as a city trader, husband & father. You never doubt the love he has for his wife & children, but you also are left in no doubt as to the importance of his work to him, and these moments where you see Peter as he once was are heartwrenching as you are only too aware of what is coming.
But it’s not just James Nesbitts performance that carries the movie. The young actress who plays Charlotte, Lil Woods, is superb in the role of the child who comes bursting into Peter’s life & makes him start to live again. And their moments together are as heartwrenching as anything else in the movie as Peter starts to come out of the protective shell he has built for himself.
First time writer/director Mark Aldridge has crafted a haunting fairy tale of loss & redemption that, while it might not be as moving as it wanted to be, but is still guaranteed to have your heartstrings humming to it’s tune.
As an independant British movie, I really hope that this gets the attention & recognition it deserves now it is coming out on DVD as it is a very well written, directed & shot movie with some absolutely beautiful images of the island of Ornsay, off Skye, where it was shot & wonderful performances from its two leads.