Newcastle-born actor Charlie Carrick uses his native accent to devastating effect in this smart debut feature from director Mary Nighy (daughter of Bill).
Carrick doesn’t get especially terrifying lines as artist Simon but it’s his voice, or more often his WhatsApp messages, that fray the nerves of his girlfriend Alice (Anna Kendrick).
In a powerful opening scene, she keeps nervously checking her phone while enjoying drinks with her two best friends (Wunmi Mosaku and Kaniehtiio Horn).
When they invite her to a country cottage for a birthday celebration, Alice nervously agrees before rushing home in something of a panic. The next day, she makes a bizarre excuse to her handsome boyfriend, claiming she’s been ordered to go on a business trip.
Initially, this lie seems completely unwarranted. But this is the first red flag about her relationship. And, after a while, we can imagine Simon’s needy voice expressing its disapproval at everything she does.
When Alice finally gets away, her mates are at first confused and then alarmed by her behaviour. She pulls out her hair and frets over what she eats, what she looks like, and even what she dreams about.
After she reveals she lied to Simon so she could join them, they express concerns over her toxic relationship. She protests: “He doesn’t hurt me though”.
He may not physically hit her but his perfectionism and narcissism are taking a toll. Alanna Francis’s clever script and Kendrick’s nervy performance show us how it feels to be repeatedly floored by the nagging voice of an abusive partner.