The second Julian Barnes adaptation to hit our screens this year (following the little-viewed Love Etc) proves to be one of the more enjoyable British releases of late. Set mainly during 1977, the drama focuses on Chris (Bale) and Tony (Ross), who grew up together in suburban England a decade earlier.
Chris is now happily married to Marion (Watson) and has a baby daughter, while idealistic, would-be poet Tony has never settled down. A surprise visit from his childhood friend causes Chris to reassess his present life and to remember his days working in Paris; there he lived with Annick (Zylberstein), a young, liberated French woman, before he fell in love with Marion.
This is a story about the difficult choices we have to make in life, and how youthful idealism and certainty gives way to adult confusion. Although Saville's direction isn't that visually imaginative, the script is both humorous and emotionally truthful, and backed up by a quartet of impressive performances from Watson and co.