With 29 awards already to its name early in its festival run, writer/director Mike Clarke's gritty British drama A Light Through Coloured Glass is proving to be worth the 2 1/2 years it took after delays caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
William (Kyle Brookes) has just had his wife leave him when his life is further upended when he meets Tina (Sophia Leanne Kelly), a younger woman with more than a few problems of her own. While there's grit galore in this rather hardcore drama, Clarke keeps the humanity front-and-center throughout the film and a strong ensemble cast brings Clarke's dialogue to life with precision and emotionally honest. Clarke has always been willing to explore unique places within the human experience and with A Light Through Coloured Glass he does so once again.
I must confess that in the opening moments of A Light Through Coloured Glass I found myself more than a little wary of the film's initial structure - a middle class and religious man appearing to take a benevolent sort of interest in a somewhat downtrodden young woman.
Fortunately, Clarke is much too smart as both a writer and director to go the usual route and this is a film that dances around these themes while exploring new territories, ideas, and possibilities with a story that feels like it's going to be familiar but actually isn't that familiar.
Do you remember the old television series from the early 80's Love, Sydney? It starred Tony Randall and Swoosie Kurtz as a sort of odd couple but not THAT kind of couple. I thought about Love, Sydney a lot while watching A Light Through Coloured Glass and the dynamics between William and Tina. The two come from incredibly different worlds, yet Brookes and Kelly are so good here that it's not long before you realize there's a sort of soulful connection here that transcends backgrounds and personal narratives. Watching their stories unfold is a delight, occasionally quite touching and other times somewhat jarring. Both Brookes and Kelly are absolutely terrific here. Macaulay Cooper is also pretty magnificent as Dan, a drug dealer whom Tina owes cash and he's not one to play around when there's cash on the line.
Henry Owen's lensing for the film is in tune with the film's inherent drama but never over-emphasizes it. The original music by Nicolas Iaconis IV is strong throughout as is the editing work by Iain Cash.
In addition to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, A Light Through Coloured Glass is a no-budget flick. However, Clarke has been doing this for a few years now and you can hardly tell as this engaging, deeply involving film easily surpasses some films you'd see at the multiplex. If you get a chance, A Light Through Coloured Glass is a film to check out.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
Originally published here: https://theindependentcritic.com/a_light_through_coloured_glass