BFI #LFF 2019: LYNN + LUCY Film Review

Deftly handled by Fyzal Boulifa, LYNN + LUCY is an atmospheric and intense drama that hooks you in from the get go

4 out of 5 stars

Acclaimed British shorts director Fyzal Boulifa presents a stark tale of female friendship tested by tragedy his impressive first feature LYNN + LUCY.

Inseparable at school and now living as neighbours and young mothers, Lynn (Roxanne Scrimshaw) and Lucy (Nichola Burley) have been friends their whole lives. Their relationship as intense as any romance but when a tragedy befalls the pair, a chain of events is set in motion, putting their friendship to the ultimate test, bringing out fears and resentments in the local community.

Deftly handled by Boulifa, this atmospheric and intense drama hooks you in from the get go. The decision to tell the story from the perspective of Lynn, not Lucy, adds a unique richness to this deeply personal story which pays dividends later on when Lucy is reeling from tragedy. Here, we are given an intimate view of events even as the story begins to open up to other truths come to light, Boulifa truly honing in on the characters as his unflinching close-ups catch every meaningful glance and every gesture.

Much of the film’s success lies in the outstanding lead performances from Roxanne Scrimshaw and Nichola Burley, who deliver a note-perfect portrayal, Scrimshaw in particular shining as the best friend caught between friendship and morality.

LYNN + LUCY doesn’t offer any easy answers or resolutions, choosing to confront us with a taut thriller of bad choices and misunderstandings which escalate into social unrest. As such, it’s impossible to emerge from the experience unscathed, Boulifa ensuring we walk right beside them on their tortuous journey.

Yet, as a whole, LYNN + LUCY certainly packs a punch, standing out technically and artistically for its meaningful and honest portrait of how hard life can be in small English working-class communities

LYNN + LUCY screens at the BFI London Film Festival on 7 October 2019.