Three's Companyby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
British Eva (Oona Chaplin) and Spanish Kat (Natalia Tena) are a lesbian couple living on a houseboat/barge moored in east London. Eva is a salsa teacher and Kat is a barge restorer. They’re happy, jokey and – apart from the fact their cat has just died – very content together.
When Kat’s ebullient and very sexual Spanish friend Roger (David Verdaguer) comes to stay, initially just for a couple of weeks, it triggers a crisis in the two women’s relationship. Tena and Verdaguer starred together before as the couple in director Carlos Marqués-Marcet’s previous film 10,000 km. Eva wants a baby, though Kat is not as keen. Despite this, David agrees to become Eva’s sperm donor and he lives with the two women during Eva’s do-it-yourself insemination and for her ensuing pregnancy. But the unanticipated tensions that arise cause a destructive fallout on the relationship between loving trio and other partners.
Contemporary London is shot in all its grime and beauty as the barge chugs from the grey urban gasometers and traditional waterside pubs in east London to green countryside, and back again. The cramped barge setting intensifies the focus on the three friends and its journey echoes their bittersweet dilemmas as they veer between endearing joyousness and sudden sadness.
There’s comic cameo casting of Geraldine Chaplin, Oona’s real-life mother, as Kat’s eccentric mother, who warns them against what she sees as the mistake of trying to recreate the alternative lifestyles of the communes she lived in in the Sixties.
In the end, what everyone has to do, the film concludes, is to decide when it’s time to metaphorically drop anchor in life, and then hope for the best.
Anchor & Hope screened at the 61st BFI London Film Festival and is released on 28 September 2018 in the UK. Anchor & Hope and 10,000 km will both be available on DVD & Digital Download from 5 November 2018.