Emotional trauma affects people in different ways, but the unexpected loss of a close family member can easily induce a psychological breakdown. Some people have a complete emotional collapse, some protect themselves by refusing to accept the truth and others simply snap. The latter is more frequently captured in films, often leading to a bloody rampage or suicide. Tom Geen’s Couple in a Hole is a slow-paced study of the effect of a loss on a middle-class married couple living abroad.

John (Paul Higgins) and Karen (Kate Dickie) has forsaken their comfortable idyllic life and are living an almost feral existence in the woods near their former home in the Pyrenees. John sets about hunting and gathering but Karen needs to be coaxed out of their hole. On a trip into to town to buy some medicine, John is spotted by his former neighbour Andre (Jérôme Kircher). Whilst Andre desperately tries to win his friendship, John initially rebels not wanting to have anything to do with the outside world.

Couple in A Hole is essentially a film about love and loss. It’s about the lengths one person will go to in order to protect the person they love. Higgins and Dickie are both excellent as a couple who, whilst both grieving, do so to different extremes. John puts Karen first and is prepared to do anything to try and ease her pain. It’s a really mature and intelligent look at the grieving process from several different angles.

Couple In A Hole is out in cinemas on Friday.