Film Review: The Closer We Get

Review of Karen Guthrie’s award-winning docu-drama, The Closer We Get

This is an extraordinary and marvellous film; possibly the most honest and intimate portrait of a family in crisis you’ll ever see captured in a documentary. When film-maker Karen Guthrie’s mother has a stroke, the family has to rally round to help look after her. But the family dynamics are not what you might expect. The unexpected return of her father, Ian, who had left many years before, is, it turns out, just the latest example of his unpredictable behaviour. The film is as much about Karen coming to terms with her relationship with her wayward father as it is about her coping with her mother’s illness and her new responsibilities.

Her camera provides her with the excuse to confront her newly, unexpectedly returned father, and even try to make him face up to the consequences of his leaving the family home to work in Africa, and the secret double-life he lived there.

Karen Guthrie’s own narration strikes the perfect balance as the film gradually reveals some dramatic and sometimes shocking truths. It’s a testament to her film-making skills that what were obviously shocking revelations at the time, have a similar impact in the context of the film.

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