Despite its downbeat title, this likeable film is more humanist than miserablist. It studies the tensions between three middle-class families living in a suburban cul-de-sac. Skunk (Eloise Laurence) is a normal 11-year-old girl who’s knocking around with her older brother in her last summer break before she starts secondary school. They live with their loving father Archie (Tim Roth) and au pair Kasia.
Across the street are the Oswalds – three horrible daughters and their short-fused widowed father – and the Buckleys – mother, father and grown-up son Rick. Rick is not quite the full quid but friendly with Skunk.
One day, the middle Oswald daughter tells her father a lie about having sex with Rick, and Mr Oswald beats the crap out of him in front of Skunk. Skunk’s world view is shaken, but will it all fall apart?
Newcomer Laurence anchors a great cast in a story that’s by turns warm, tense and touching. 8/10
Released May 16, 2013.