Daphne: Emily Beecham stars as the aimless Daphne

Emily Beecham in Daphne

Daphne is a character study. Emily Beecham plays the disconnected Daphne as she faces life unwillingly. She does not want to grow up, but at 31 she gets plenty of reminders that she needs to grow up.

Daphne works in a busy restaurant. Her boss, Joe (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), is secretly in love with her. Instead of encouraging that, she goes out drinking at night and picks up random men for sex. She drinks too much, she’s disorganized, she’s cynical in the extreme. She argues about the essential nature of love with everyone she meets.

Daphne is in a convenience store when a very high man comes in demanding money. He stabs the clerk and runs. Daphne holds the clerk’s hand and tries to stop the bleeding until the ambulance comes.

Because this is England and not the U.S., the police call Daphne and remind her that she is entitled to free counseling as a witness to a violent crime. The question is – will she take the help? Or will she merely incorporate stabbing jokes into her repertoire of cynicism?

Emily Beecham and Geraldine James in Daphne

Geraldine James plays Daphne’s mother. Their relationship isn’t good. She doesn’t tell her mother about the stabbing, but she does make an effort to get closer to her.

There are plenty of people around her. She treats most of them with toxic hostility. She meets David (Nathaniel Martello-White), who is a bouncer at one of the bars she frequents. They might start dating – maybe. They have some dates. He’s interested. She’s reeling.

Here she is, in her thirties already, and she still hasn’t decided whether to get a grip on life or keep circling the drain. The ending of the film doesn’t provide a definite answer.

Emily Beecham was terrific in this. Definitely the best thing about the movie. She made the disheveled and demoralized Daphne someone to care about and root for. I saw it on Prime Video but a number of other streamers also carry it. If you give it a watch, please share what you thought about it.

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