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Death, where is thy sting?

Category: One More Kiss Reviews
Article Date: January 16, 2000 | Publication: The Sunday Herald | Author: Wendy Ide

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A dying businesswoman causes havoc in a Scottish coastal town it could have been a great movie, reckons WENDY IDE, if only it didn't shy away from the grisly details

Difficult women tend to make for entertaining cinema, and they don't come much more difficult than Sarah, the protagonist of Vadim Jean's latest film, One More Kiss. Scots actress Valerie Edmond (previously seen in the television adaptation of The Crow Road) tackles the rewardingly complex role of a successful Manhattan-based business woman who decides to return to her home town on the coast of Scotland when she discovers she has a brain tumour.

Sarah is stroppy, opinionated and interfering. She expects to be the centre of attention at all times and doesn't think twice about the consequences of her actions on other people. However, she is also feisty, spirited and equipped with a down-to-earth sense of humour, and she certainly isn't one to let the knowledge that she's going to die mar her enjoyment of the days she has left.

Her return sends shockwaves through the small community, particularly shaking the two men she abandoned: her ex-lover Sam (Gerry Butler) and her father Frank (James Cosmo). Both men initially have mixed feelings about her destructive presence: Frank is unimpressed by her fancy New York ways, in particular her dietary habits, and insists on grilling the sushi she offers him. Sam, meanwhile, is a married man. He feels his loyalties lie with his wife, and knows he can't possibly drop everything just to hang out with the girl who dumped him many years before.

However, when they discover the real reason for Sarah's return, both men are stunned - and do everything they can to spend time with her. This, understandably, doesn't go down too well with Sam's wife Charlotte (Valerie Cogan), who watches her husband falling in love again as he tries to help Sarah realise her final ambitions.

One More Kiss is not an entirely believable film, not least for the fact that Sarah doesn't exhibit any symptoms of illness throughout the movie. It is also deeply flawed by the lack of development of Charlotte's character - she is portrayed simply as a nagging harridan on the periphery of the story. However, it is a sensitive portrait of the changes in the dynamic of a relationship between people once it becomes known that one of them is about to die. James Cosmo is superb as the irascible Frank, a man who hasn't left his armchair for seven years until his dying daughter bullies him back into living. Valerie Edmond also puts in a strong performance, and the film manages to be poignant without descending into an outright tear-jerker.

Copyright 2000 Scottish Media Newspapers Limited


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