Anchor and Hope has a brilliant concept at its centre: a lesbian couple, who just so happen to live on a canal boat, decide it’s time to start a family – with a male friend of theirs ready to act as sperm donor.
It has huge potential to be a fresh and exciting new story about love in the modern age and, with Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena on board as the two leads, it certainly comes close. Sadly, the ‘hope’ never quite shakes the ‘anchor’ weighing it down and, despite so much good, it loses something in the execution.
First off, one character is desperate for a baby; the other clearly isn’t – and makes no attempt to hide this fact. There’s no middle ground at all. It’s so ridiculously obvious that you just get frustrated with the one pushing for the baby and annoyed at the other one for going along with it when she so clearly has no interest in being a parent (let alone whilst living on a canal boat).
And if you can’t stay with them as they decide to go ahead with this plan then they’ve lost you – or at least, they lost me. I didn’t have any sympathy when the one who wants the baby gets upset that the other one isn’t more invested. And I certainly didn’t care when the one who’s not interested starts to detach herself from anything related to what they’re trying to do.
After a promising start, the film then jolts more than flows and though there are many elements to love about the film, the end result just isn’t cohesive enough to keep the viewer hooked.
As the two leading ladies, Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena are electric together. It’d be great to see these Game of Thrones alums on screen together again as their chemistry is incredible and certainly needs to be explored further in other stories.
It’s also a real treat to see the natural ease with which the three central characters hop between English and Spanish, bringing a delightfully ‘foreign’ feel to a very British-set film and no doubt resonating with anyone who speaks more than one language fluently.
The long shots of canals and rivers are just gorgeous and this unconventional setting really is stunning to watch. It’s just a shame the characters themselves weren’t so engaging.