Benjamin: Film Review

Simon Amstell made his directorial debut with 2017’s Carnage, which was not my bag (I turned it off), but he has written and directed a film that’s much more my vibe for his second effort – the semi-autobiographical indie romcom Benjamin.

Benjamin is played by Colin Morgan, who won praise for his directorial debut years ago and is preparing to premiere his much-anticipated follow-up that he fears will be a flop, despite assurances from producer Tessa (Anna Chancellor). He is also insanely lonely but self-sabotages any relationship he’s in, convinced he’s not capable of love, but things change when he meets French music student Noah (Phenix Brossard).

Inspired by his love life in his twenties, Amstell has written something which feels highly authentic and personal. The script is witty, bittersweet and extremely funny because it is so well observed and has a lot of cutting remarks about the movie industry. It occasionally goes off on a bit of a tangent though. Not much happens, you’re basically just watching a slice of Benjamin’s life, but it’s a nice watch, and at an hour and 25 mins, it whips along.

I loved Morgan in Humans and he was the perfect socially awkward lead who makes some of his social interactions very uncomfortable to watch. My favourite was actually Jessica Raine as his fast-talking publicist Billie – she was hilarious – and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett had a scene-stealing turn in his cameo as bitter ex Paul. Benjamin’s best mate Stephen, played by Joel Fry, is equally awkward and provides some of the more uncomfortable scenes.

This isn’t a traditional romcom and won’t be up everyone’s street as it is quite odd at times but it made me laugh a lot and left me feeling satisfied. Worth checking out.

In selected cinemas from Friday 15th March 

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