Reviews

Afterlife

3

This first feature from actress-turned-director Alison Peebles is a whimsical tale that tackles issues of euthanasia, terminal illness, family responsibility and Down's Syndrome children. Sound like a laugh? Well it is, actually. It would have been very easy for this Scottish answer to Rain Manto resort to maudlin and patronising tear-jerking. Instead it ekes both bittersweet humour and emotional resonance through affecting performances from an excellent cast.

Kevin McKidd plays cocky reporter Kenny, summoned home to rainy Scotland by his cancer-riddled mother (Lindsay Duncan) to care for his Down's Syndrome sister Roberta (cheeky debutante Paula Sage). Will Kenny abandon his family for the career-making story he's on the cusp of cracking?

That Roberta will charm the pants off him and the audience alike is a given. But McKidd's intrinsic likeability and Duncan's spiky bolshiness allow us to forgive a melodramatic final twist and the underuse of Shirley Henderson as Kenny's gallery-owning girlfriend.

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