John May has worked for the council for 22 years. His job is to find any remaining relatives or friends of those who have died alone. When there are no next of kin and based on what evidence that Mr May can find at the deceased home he has to decide what type of service these unfortunates should have, burial or cremation and make the arrangements including a short eulogy and what type of music to play. If he is unable to find anyone to attend the funeral service he will go himself. John May loves his work but then one morning his manager tells him that the authority has to cut back so he is being made redundant. Meticulous and organised to the last he asks for extra time to finish his final case. William Stokes lay undiscovered for 40 days in a flat neighbouring John May’s surrounded by little more than empty bottles. Mr May finds a photo album in the flat into which has been carefully placed pictures of what may or maybe not the dead mans daughter? Intrigued he starts his detective work that gradually reveals the life and secrets of William Stokes.
Starring one of Britain's best character actors Eddie Marsan (my own favourite was Scott the cabby in Mike Leigh’s 2008 Happy Go Lucky) who deservedly won The Award for Best Performance in a British Film at the 2014 EIFF for this role along side the lovely Joanne Froggatt. Directed, written and produced by Luchino Visconti's nephew Uberto Pasolini it was set and shot in London.
As it was only a month since my own mother had died I cannot judge if this movie affected me more than it would other people, but it certainly affected me in away I could not have imagined. Having never really grieved, as my mother and I were not very close, during the film I got very emotional! This is a story about loneliness and death and how when some people pass away there is sadly no one to mourn or attend their funeral service - fortunately this was not the case with my mother but in this uncaring time we live in I am reliably informed that it is not an unusual occurrence. A very brave film that exposes the loneliness of living in a big city and one that looks at death to give the true meaning of life. See also Dreams of a Life (2011)