Lynn and Lucy have been friends for basically their entire life. They live a normal middleclass life across the street from one another in a small town, and know they can count on each other for a laugh or a chat. Lynn is excited to be Lucy’s first born’s godmother, although the new mum isn’t sure she’s fit to be a mother, also dealing with her volatile boyfriend. After starting a new job as an assistant in a hairsalon, Lynn soon sees her tight friendship, community and own family questioned to the point of no return.

Writer and director Fyzal Boulifa has made a truly gut wrenching social drama, with at the center a subject not many storytellers like to tackle. Lynn + Lucy is the kind of film that surprises you more than once. As simple as it may look, Boulifa has found a way to ask the hard questions by putting its audience in the middle of a mental struggle with both main characters. Do you ever really know someone that literally lives right across the street from you? When does gossip take control of facts and vice versa? Does trust make us ignore clear warning signs or mute cries for help? Nothing is taboo for Boulifa. Just expect to leave the cinema all shaken up.

Protagonists Lynn + Lucy are played by Roxanne Scrimshaw + Nichola Burley respectively. Both give captivating tragic performances that leave a mark on you. You can’t help but feel for Scrimshaw’s Lynn, who has the kindest eyes, yet at the same time the close ups of her face show a sad side that constantly makes you want to protect her. She gives one of the strongest and rawest performances in a British film in a very long time. Burley’s Lucy on the other hand, is so tormented by guilt and has a dying hunger for love. She shows off most of her acting talent after the film’s central devastating event, and never steps on the brake. Both actors challenge and push each other to unseen levels.

The story doesn’t need a score, since the quiet pauses between dialogues give us time to catch our breath. Accompanied by effective cinematography, this small drama stands out in a somewhat lost year for cinema. Lynn + Lucy should come with some sort of trigger warning, or at least get an appropriate rating, to make sure those who go in blindly know to brace themselves. Heavy subjects with a massive emotional impact make this social commentary on gossip, friendship and parenthood one of those films that lingers long after the end credits fade to black.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lynn + Lucy will be released in Belgian cinemas 1 July 2020

Review – ‘Lynn + Lucy’

Reviewed online, June 30, 2020. Running time: 84 min.

PRODUCTION: An O’Brother Distribution release of a BBC Films, BFI Film Fund, Lipsync, Rosetta Productions, Sixteen Films, Vixens production. Producer: Camilla Bray. Executive producers: Carole Baraton, Kristin Irving, Scott Meek, Norman Merry, Rebecca O’Brien, Rick Wolfe, Eva Yates.

CREW: Director/screenplay: Fyzal Boulifa. Camera: Taina Galis. Editors: Fyzal Boulifa, Taina Galis.

WITH: Roxanne Scrimshaw, Nichola Burley, Jennifer Lee Moon, Kacey Ainsworth, Shaq B. Grant, Samson Cox-Vinell, Jordan Long, Jack Shalloo, Tia Nelson.

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