This film was previously reviewed in March 2022 as part of our Glasgow Film Festival coverage.

Harry Wootliff’s sophomore feature is poised between erotic psychodrama and thoroughly British kitchen sink exercise, fully succeeding at neither despite solid performances. Kate (Ruth Wilson, magnetic in confusion) works at a job centre in the rough end of Kent, on her third warning with her boss and in no hurry to get her life together despite her parents’ well-meaning worry. When Blond (Tom Burke, given no other name, simultaneously ageless and rooted) arrives, hoping Kate can help him after four months behind bars, the pair begin a flirtation that blows past professionalism in fifteen minutes. True Things benefits from this rapid, filthy start but quickly loses focus on Kate, its lost, beating heart. The resulting film baffles and underwhelms, too tentative to choose social drama or sexy thriller. 

The cast do their best to elevate the uninspired material. When Wilson magnetically takes the spotlight – such as in an achingly gorgeous, lonely dance in a Spanish nightclub – Kate becomes more than a cipher. Her relationship with her parents is muddled, but her small, deeply stressful rebellions at work genuinely raise the pulse. Burke, coiffed to perfection, excels as the corrupting influence – roguish grin and easy mannerisms carrying even the most outrageous dares. Unfortunately, they cannot save all disjointed scenarios.

It is uncertain whether Wilson and Burke, both 40, are playing young (Kate’s visits from her parents imply someone in her early 30s, as do Burke’s rakish frosted tips), or whether the sardonic tragedy of the film is watching Kate and Blond claim a youth that has passed them by. The fact that either works could be an asset in a stronger film; in True Things, the murkiness frustrates. 

True Things squanders its potential and its magnetic stars. Wootliff’s directorial voice, so beautifully felt in Only You, becomes bogged down in ambiguity. 



CAST: Ruth Wilson, Tom Burke, Hayley Squires

DIRECTOR: Harry Wootliff

WRITERS: Harry Wootliff, Molly Davies

SYNOPSIS: A floundering job centre agent lets her life be taken over by a persuasive, sexy stranger.