Today, us Brits seem to have a love/hate relationship with our traditional seaside resorts. With the elemental power of the sea and beautiful coastal walks comes the faded and crumbling glamour of the glory days and the sound of deserted arcades. Cheap airfares and package holidays marked a steep decline in their popularity. Leaving in its wake poverty and deprivation, especially in the off-season; where those who remain are often assorted oddballs and ghosts from another era. Claire Oakley’s feature debut’ Make-Up brings love and jealousy to rural Cornwall.
As the tourist season draws to an end, Ruth (Molly Windsor) arrives at a remote holiday park to stay with her boyfriend Tom (Joseph Quinn), who has been working there over summer. She’s been desperate to see him but his reaction to her arrival seems a little subdued. Whilst he’s at work, she starts noticing little clues which make her begin to suspect that he has been seeing someone else. These suspicions rapidly evolve into an obsession, but then she meets Jade (Stefanie Martini) who offers her a release.
Make-Up is a salty relationship drama which brings intrigue and mystery to the rugged coastal landscape. Whilst there are fine acting performances all-round, it’s Oakley’s direction which most impresses. It’s clear to see why she was chosen as a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2019. She imbues her film with an almost dreamlike quality, turning what could have been a rather blunt premise into something resembling a fairy tale. Make-Up is an early contender for the best British film of the year.
Make-Up is in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from 31 July.