Daphneis a coming-of-age tale that spills into actual adulthood. At 31, Daphne’s life is at a standstill, but after witnessing a robbery gone sour, the effects begin to trickle into her everyday life.
The British are coming! The British are coming! A great British remake of a shitty American original - that is essentially what Daphne is. We’ve seen this story before: messy, self destructive women trying to find their place in the world. With Daphne, there’s no strong narrative drive being that this is very much a character study, but it works really well here because Daphne is not some oddly amusing quirky girl. She is abrasive and snarky and very much so real. It's really the heft of Emily Beecham’s performance that makes this film unashamedly sincere. Daphne is messy and flawed, reacting to a traumatic events with apathy and cynicism and Beecham captures this in such a human way. She is what truly makes Daphne relatable.
London also provides the perfect backdrop for this story. Like most major cities, London is unpredictable. At any moment's notice you can have an affinity for a stranger you meet riding the bus or you can witness a brutal attack in a convenient store. Daphne would not translate well had it been set in a rural, country town outside of the metropolitan area. The city is a place where one can find solace amongst the crowded streets or alienation which is why the shots of Daphne in public are captivating. She is often shot alone surrounded by people, showing us how disconnected she is from forming any real rapport.
Round of applause for Peter Mackie Burns and Nico Mensinga.Daphne marks both of their debuts into feature films and it is a solid introductory. Mensinga pens a script that hits close to home and manages to not teeter into the moralization of our protagonist. The film feels entirely observational; it doesn't force some cathartic revelation or a contrived “it’ll all work out” shtick like most millennial films. In the end, we are left hopeful for Daphne’s change, yet unflinching if she decided to keep up her old habits. Mensinga’s script soulfully balances comedy and drama while Burns’ direction holds it all together. He captures fleeting moments of intimacy with precision and uses lots of warm colors to contrast Daphne’s (and London’s) cold nature, making sure the audience never feels too detached from her.
Daphne is a very compelling slice of life piece that sort of reminds you of that girl you had a one night stand with, but you still think of from time to time hoping that she’s doing well.