Truth and Movies

23 Walks

Review by Lillian Crawford @lillcrawf

Directed by

Paul Morrison

Starring

Bob Goody Dave Johns Graham Cole

Anticipation.

Didn’t Paul Morrison do that film with Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dalí?

Enjoyment.

Alison Steadman creates some beautifully tender moments from weak material.

In Retrospect.

Mostly harmless.

A couple in twilight years become acquainted over a series of dog walks in Paul Morrison’s cheery drama.

The formula of the ‘grey pound’ is well-established. Get some familiar (white British) faces, stir in enough saccharine to keep the oldies awake, and add some relatable geriatric humour.

What’s often surprising about these films is just how bleak they can be – alleged ‘feel-good’ films like 2017’s Finding Your Feet and 2012’s Song for Marion killed off half their casts. Rather than offering uplift they just end up upsetting my old nan. It’s more than she bargains for when she rocks up to the cinema on a Thursday morning for her free cuppa and digestive biscuit.

Nan would like 23 Walks. It’s light, sweet and mostly inoffensive. There’s a hint of xenophobia: Alison Steadman’s daughter has run off to the Canaries to marry “a Spaniard”, but she comes round to the idea, learning the language and looking forward to the trip. There’s even a very odd scene in which she dons a black dress and starts singing to an attentive audience of dog walkers. Nan wouldn’t like the occasional bad language and fairly explicit sex, with the 12A certificate likely to put her off.

Conversely, it’s those saltier moments that are the most enjoyable. While Dave Johns seems less at home with the wooden meet-cute dialogue of Paul Morrison’s screenplay than he did with the rawness of his lead role in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, he’s more convincing when he’s hurling expletives into the bushes.

Steadman’s hesitant desire to rekindle her sexuality is heartbreaking, and her girlish glee when the moment finally comes elicits a smile. Considering it’s called 23 Walks, it’s the domestic moments that shine, although the adorable canines Henry and Tilly are worthy supporting stars. Maybe not quite enough to warm a sceptic’s heart, but certainly a pleasant enough outing for your nan.

Published 25 Sep 2020

Tags: Alison Steadman Dave Johns Paul Morrison

Anticipation.

Didn’t Paul Morrison do that film with Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dalí?

Enjoyment.

Alison Steadman creates some beautifully tender moments from weak material.

In Retrospect.

Mostly harmless.

Suggested For You

Edie

By Jamie Neish

A widow scales one of Scotland’s most challenging peaks in this uplifting drama starring Sheila Hancock.

review LWLies Recommends

45 Years

By Sophie Monks Kaufman

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are on top form in Andrew Haigh’s devastating relationship drama.

review LWLies Recommends

Days of the Bagnold Summer

By David Jenkins

This melancholy comic character portrait of an emotionally estranged mother and son falls in its final act.

review

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.

Editorial

Design