This piece was originally published on So So Gay on 4 December 2014.
‘It’s fine. Everything’s fine,’ Carter (Charlie Cox) tries to convince himself, whilst lying on a slowly deflating airbed, kept awake by the orgasmic noises of his brother Elliot’s (Christian Cooke) latest conquest. 11 months since his American girlfriend Kelly left him, the lovesick Carter (Charlie Cox) decides it’s time to make some changes. Spurred on by his brother to simply call her rather than mope after her, Carter agrees but realises he doesn’t have Kelly’s new number. After an uninspiring job interview where he meets Jenny (Jodie Whittaker), a sweet but bored office worker, he happens to bump into Kelly’s brother, Aaron (Paul Schneider), giving him the perfect opportunity to get the new number. Unfortunately for Carter, Aaron wants him to do a favour first, leading to an unforgettable night for the young romantic.
Hello Carter plays like a quintessentially British film, with its low-key humour brought to life by generally understated characters portrayed by a sterling cast. Anthony Wilcox’s script has an appealing blend of romance, farce, drama, and comedy – even though this makes the film a slightly tricky proposition to pigeonhole for audiences. This feature film also marks Wilcox’s directorial debut, after years of learning his craft as assistant director on films like Layer Cake, W.E., and Hot Fuzz. Set in London, Wilcox manages to beautifully capture the capital’s many different faces, and is the perfect backdrop for the story, along with a soundtrack that includes Robyn and SBTRKT.
Aside from having a talented director at the helm, the film is very well cast. Like this generation’s Hugh Grant, Cox is excellent as the film’s bumbling and endearing lead, but he is also ably supported. His story arc with Whittaker may be obvious from very early on, but the duo make such a likeable pair that it doesn’t overly matter, while Schneider’s performance as the slightly unhinged Aaron Radwell works as the perfect foil to their more introverted personalities. As a minor criticism, it’s a shame Judy Parfitt, who plays Carter’s aunt Miriam, didn’t get more screen time as she’s a joy to watch and arguably has the best lines of the film.
It’s hard to dislike Hello Carter – a gently engaging film with a talented cast. It may not break the bank as a smash-hit blockbuster, but as a fine piece of British cinema, its charming quality by a promising young director is undeniable.
Hello Carter is in cinemas from Friday 5 December and is released on DVD from Monday 15 December. The DVD is available to pre-order from Amazon now. Featured images courtesy of ar:pr.