Writer/director Fyzal Boulifa’s Lynn + Lucy is a superbly acted and directed drama about a disintegrating friendship, and a timely parable about the mob mentality.
Lynn (Roxanne Scrimshaw) and Lucy (Nichola Burley) have been best friends since the age of eleven, and now live opposite one another in Harlow, Essex. Lynn married her first boyfriend after getting pregnant as a teenager, and now has a ten-year old daughter. Lucy has recently had a baby, and is the more erratic of the pair (as seen on a night out early in the film). She struggles with motherhood, but Lynn is on hand to help her out, amid complications from Lucy’s feckless boyfriend. As for Lynn, after ten years of being a full-time mother, she gets a job at a local hair salon, working for a woman who was unpleasant to her at school.
At first, the bond between Lynn and Lucy seems solid, but then a horrifying incident unsettles everything. When blame begins to fall at Lucy’s door, Lynn’s loyalties are put to the test, as she faces a number of moral dilemmas.
Shooting in Academy aspect ratio, Boulifa’s framings allow for an intense, immersive Loachian sojourn into an incident that brings out the worst in its working-class community. At the same time, the parallels with human nature in general are all too depressingly believable. What most struck me was Lynn’s passivity, and the way she is swept along with the eddies and currents of fickle, ill-informed, gossiping colleagues. She has a particularly interesting character arc, in that our initial sympathy with her predicament eventually gives way to an alarmingly unsparing depiction of cowardice trumping conscience, presenting us with the uncomfortable truth that we are all too often ready to rush to judgement.
In short, Lynn + Lucy isn’t one to watch if you’re in the mood for car chases and explosions, but as a scathing study of mob culture, it gets under the skin and lingers in the mind. I’d definitely recommend it.
UK Certificate: 15
US Certificate: Not yet rated, but would almost certainly get an R.
Content warnings: Very strong language, upsetting scenes.