My Brother Tom review

Having made his name making documentaries, director Dom Rotheroe's first feature is a powerful piece of cinema. It charts the relationship between outsiders Tom (Ben Whishaw) and Jessica (Jenna Harrison), two teenagers from very different backgrounds who unite against the rest of the world. An unusually stark rites-of-passage story, Rotheroe and co-writer Ali Hilder's script deals unflinchingly with the difficult subject of sexual abuse.

In the lead roles, Whishaw and Harrison give brave and highly accomplished performances, while Robby Müller's excellent digital photography captures the natural beauty of the wood in which the pair meet. By employing actors whose faces the audience will not know, having the cast improvise and using handheld camerawork, Rotheroe creates a very real and unforced atmosphere, which makes the film's most shocking moments all the more affecting. This mature debut has a simplicity and raw beauty about it, and marks out its director as a very rare and promising British talent.


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