A Relative Stranger
Review by PatsLass:
Cast includes; Jason Isaacs, Siobhan Redmond, Susanna Hamilton, Ioan Gruffudd
A Relative Stranger was made for BBC Wales and has never been released on DVD ,what is available is a home VHS recorded edition which has been copied into DVD format and the quality is not great.
Jason plays the lead role in the film Peter Fraiman, a university student who fall asleep after having asked his girlfriend to marry him and wakes up twenty years later married to a different woman and with two children he doesn’t know and no recollection of anything that has happened in between.
Peter embarks upon the task of finding the one person he remembers, his student girlfriend Jenny (Susanna Hamilton) much to the angst of Alison (Siobhan Redmond), his wife and their family. Everything Peter learns about his life now, he dislikes. his marriage is failing, he is appalled with his video business and he and son argue about most things. However, he now believes he has a second chance to be with Jenny, if his memory has wiped out the past 20 years then he too can ignore it, at one point the even tell his son that his current life is a mistake.
The film takes Peter on a journey of self discovery about the choices he’s made and what he has done with his life but due to the length of the film (60 minutes) it doesn’t always go into great detail or explore the emotional depth such a case of memory loss could cause and therefore you don’t always connect with the characters. For instance Peter’s wife, initially you’d imagine having a great deal of sympathy for her, after all her husband has lost his memory, he is calling you by a former girlfriends name and he is keeping a journal of events and feelings which he doesn’t want you to read but I ended up being annoyed with her. Instead of being angry or frustrated with the situation or at her husbands desire to be with someone else she simply either sits there sewing or preparing the family’s meals. Maybe the marriage is dead in the water!
Jason plays a character, who doesn’t recognise the people closest to him, his surroundings, technology or food trends! I think he does this well even if he doesn‘t look old enough to be Ioan Gruffudd‘s dad, Jason even sports full facial hair in an attempt to make him look older but fortunately the beard doesn’t last long and is quickly shaved off. He is uptight and distant from his wife but is relaxed and caring around his girlfriend. There are moments of utter confusion, humour, tenderness, love and even a naked Mr Isaacs having parts of his body prodded with a walking stick but mostly its about a man trying to make sense of his life. The quality of the recording does unfortunately detract from the enjoyment of the production but unless it is released commercially its all we have.
A Relative Stranger, a film about second chances, but who does Peter Fraiman get the second chance with………….?