The best documentaries are often those where the director has a personal connection to the subject matter. This link tends to lead towards a much greater emotional connection between the director and the subject, but also for the audience. This is indeed the case in Karen Guthrie’s The Closer We Get. It’s a very personal film which is made with maturity and great patience.
After her mother Ann suffers a devastating and debilitating stroke, Karen goes home to Scotland to look after her. She’s not the only person to return. Her father Ian is also back after the couple split up in the ;90s when Ann found out he had a son with a woman he met whilst working for a decade in Africa. Along with Karen’s brother, they care for her between them. Fifty years of history between her parents comes under scrutiny as Karen tries to unlock those unspoken secrets between them.
The Closer We Get is a brilliantly made documentary which casts light on unusual family relationships with sensitivity, humour and tenderness. Ian is clearly quite a character and Guthrie, although frustrated with his refusal to speak openly about leaving her mother, finds it difficult not to love the man who is, after all, her father. The Closer We Get is a moving and poignant portrait of a normal, yet highly unusual, family.
The Closer We Get is out in cinemas on Friday.