FIN REVIEW: Juniper a marvelous meditation on age, love, loss and familial bonds

The story of a cantankerous old bat and a troublemaking young boy has been told 1,000 times.

While there is nothing new here in this grandmother-grandson drama, it succeeds through its impeccable ability to be a step up from every other film in the sub-genre.

When young Sam, a good-looking, ill-tempered youth is suspended from his posh boarding school, his father gives him a strange punishment.

He’s ordered to care for and talk with the grandmother he never knew while his father is away. She has recently broken her leg, causing mobility issues.

But the hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Ruth wants about as little to do with Sam as she did with his father when he was a boy. She wants to be left alone with her gin, and the two are forced into the situation.

They verbally spar and the headstrong twosome lock horns on many occasions, but begrudgingly begin to form a bond as they realize they’re trapped in the situation.

Charlotte Rampling is absolutely splendid in this more hostile, inhospitable role, and young George Ferrier bursts onto the film landscape here as young Sam.

For the relative newcomer to hold his own onscreen with the Oscar-nominated titan is incredible, and the two really make this one sing. Writer-director Matthew Saville’s directorial debut is assured and well-told, and I look forward to what he brings forward in the future.

It’s a funny, elegant and emotional film that will capture your heart.

4/5 Stars

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