Film Review: Two for Joy

Personally, I would argue that the greatest British actor of my generation is Samantha Morton. She has been recognised for supporting roles in Sweet and Lowdown, Minority Report, Control and The Messenger and as a leading actress for Under the Skin, In America and Morvern Caller. The latter is, for me, her greatest moment in one of the best British films from that decade. After a three-year hiatus, Morton has had a much bigger impact in television, notably in Rillington Place and The Last Panthers. However, she’s on form in Tom Beard’s feature debut, Two for Joy.

Since the loss of her father, Vi (Emilia Jones) has had to take on responsibility for the household and her wayward younger brother Troy (Badger Skelton). All whilst studying for her GCSEs. Her mother (Morton) struggles to get out of bed. A holiday at the seaside brings them head to head with a drunk mother (Billie Piper) and her traumatised young daughter (Bella Ramsey). The adults are too caught-up in their own problems to notice what is happening to their children.

Two for Joy is a powerful drama about modern families struggling to cope. Whether that’s due to abuse or grief. Beard’s story contains no absent fathers but instead follows the trail of destruction they can leave in their wake. Morton, who has been through the foster care system herself, is at her subtle best. However, it’s the young actors who steal the show; all delivering fearless and accomplished performances. Two for Joy is difficult to watch at times but is an emotive film with an important message.

Two for Joy is available on digital download from 25 February.

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