Joanna Scanlan, star of the TV political comedy Thick Of It, plays Muslim convert Mary Hussain in After Love – a compelling story of love and deceit.
When her devoted husband Ahmed dies suddenly, Mary unlocks his phone to find a devastating secret. Cross channel ferry captain Ahmed has led a double life just 21 miles from their Dover home in Calais.
Determined to find the truth, she goes to the French home where Ahmed’s secret life has unfolded. Mistaken as a new agency cleaning lady, she strikes up a somewhat distant relationship with the woman of the house but more importantly with the son of the household after she discovers him having a sexual encounter with a male school friend.
I am desperately trying not to spoil the storyline although the early reveal of the secret is not the central theme of the film. Writer/director Aleem Khan creates an initially implausible storyline and then pulls us into believing its every nuance.
Scanlan is absolutely mesmerising as the somewhat downtrodden widow who is driven through remorse not for the sake of revenge but some kind of enlightenment and understanding of the lie that has been unknown to her for many years of marriage.
It’s a story of a clash of cultures, of deceit, of a fatalistic trajectory that grief can catapult us into and also of the true bonds of friendship and love that tie us, however strange those bonds might be.
After Love is released on June 4 in selected cinemas and at the BFI Southbank. For more info CLICK HERE.