Common PeopleNot even a week after Florian Habicht’s documentary about Britpop outfit Pulp is released, comes a sweet drama from first time filmmakers Stewart Alexander and Kerry Skinner, that shares the same name of the band’s signature hit. However that is where similarities end, as this ensemble piece instead bears comparisons to Ed Blum’s 2006 endeavour, Scenes of a Sexual Nature.

Set on a London common, predominantly across one day – we delve into the lives of various people, some passing through, some staying for the afternoon. We meet the widowed Ian (Iarla McGowan) and his young daughter, the pregnant Jenny – played by co-director Skinner, the alcoholic Harry, played by other director Alexander, and elderly couple Derrick (Sam Kelly) and Pam (Diana Payan), to name just a few. Each character with their own respective problems, but as the day turns to night, the varying narratives combine, and blend in to one another.

On first impressions, Common People is a well-shot piece of cinema, and certainly looks the part – which is always of great commendation where low-budget, independent cinema is concerned. A genial, serene atmosphere compliments the piece effectively, as the persistent, gentle sound of the wind and birds singing becomes almost hypnotic, while adding a slight touch of surrealism to proceedings. That overtly cinematic edge is essential where this feature is concerned, because without it you would simply get lost in the feature and withdrawn somewhat, because the dialogue is by no means natural or authentic. It flows well, but it’s very unrealistic.

To add to this ethereal ambiance, we almost peer into this world and these contrasting lives through the form of an omniscient parrot. Talking of which, the film can be accused of being a touch inane, particularly when Darrick and Pam start impersonating dogs and begin to discuss sticks and sniffing arses – but the film is grounded, occasionally, by relatively profound conversation. The aforementioned couple share what is easily the most impactful scene in the picture, with a somewhat touching, well-judged discussion about death and companionship.

Common People certainly improves as we progress towards the latter stages, as we start to feel a warmth towards certain characters, and there is undoubtedly a charm to this amiable production. It may be exceedingly predictable, mawkish and unbearably earnest – but what can’t be disputed, is that its heart is certainly in the right place.