Simon Amstell is one of those people who is quintessentially British. He’s a mix of unassuming intelligence, boyish charm and rampant creativity which makes him eminently likable. Known to most as the host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and Popstar, He has been performing as a stand-up since his teens. He’s less well-known as a screenwriter and a film director. His first feature was the sci-fi vegan mockumentary, Carnage. In his new film, Benjamin, sees him crashing back to reality.
Benjamin (Colin Morgan) is a neurotic film-maker who finds himself of the verge of a nervous breakdown ahead of the premiere of his second film. One night his exasperated publicist Billie (Jessica Raine) introduces him to Noah (Phénix Brossard), a young French music student. Whilst there’s a spark, Benjamin is his own worst enemy and a master of self-sabotage.
Benjamin is an absolute joy. It’s a wonderfully dry romantic comedy which plays up on the lead’s awkwardness and fragile mental state. Amstell pokes fun at his characters, privileged artistic London-dwellers, but with a playful fondness and empathy. The humour is often rye as opposed to raucous. The love story is bittersweet and heartfelt. Benjamin is a warm and joyfully understated metropolitan romance.
Benjamin is released on DVD by Verve Pictures on 12 August.