Although made before Dreams of a Life (2011) Carol Morley first fiction feature film was not released until after her documentary about the death and life of 38-year-old Joyce Carol Vincent whose decomposed body was found in her Wood Green flat after lying for three years. Although Edge (2010) has a certain mood and atmospherics that remind you of the this later film its not as hard hitting – but then it wouldn’t be, as no other film quite evoked the feeling of loneliness that befell Joyce Vincent.
Filmed virtually on the edge of Birling Gap, which is situated on the Sussex coast of England not far from Beachy Head, in the Cliff Edge Hotel which is getting ever nearer the chalk cliffs and will in a few short years disappear into the sea. Written and directed by Morley it tells about a collection of random misfits who descend on the hotel in the middle of a snow-covered winter landscape. Each one has their own tale of misfortune to relate. The middle aged Elly (Maxine Peake) returns there because her friend had fallen off the cliff and she blames herself, Wendy (Marjorie Yates) an elderly woman who wants to end her life because her husband left her for another man, Philip (Joe Dempsie) is there to meet Sophie (Nichola Burley) on a blind date but Sophie has her own agenda. Musician Glen (Paul Hilton) is only on a day trip but takes a shine to the depressed Elly. Also in attendance are three members of staff - all with there own hang-ups!
If I was being pernickety I would ask why this desolate and run down hotel remained open during what would be normally be the closed season? But I think the filming took place there because of its micro budget and without the unexpected snow it could have been any time of year. Sex in this film has never looked so unattractive but despite that and although the ending is a little formulated it is a film worth seeing, very well made and acted. Sometimes a simple story line can be really enjoyable and it’s nice to see characters included who are not normally represented on the big screen.