Don't Worry About Me (2009)
A Day in Liverpool
"Don't Worry About Me" is a movie about 3 characters, a London lad, a Liverpool lass and Liverpool itself. Yes I did call Liverpool a character as it is a huge part of this movie which at times feels like director David Morrissey paying homage to his home. "Don't Worry About Me" is also a double header about this lad and lass spending 24 hours together which I could say makes it a Liverpool take on "Before Sunrise" but I wouldn't because this is a lot less pretentious and far easier to watch. But whilst easier to watch it is none the less effective with Helen Elizabeth delivering a captivating performance.
After a one night stand London lad David (James Brough) finds a work folder belonging to the woman who left quickly in the morning and so decides to follow her to Liverpool to hand it back in the hope of something more. Well whilst she is happy to see him because of the folder she certainly doesn't want anything more leaving David down cast and alone in Liverpool. After sleeping rough he finds himself with no money but thanks to the help of Tina (Helen Elizabeth), a friendly clerk in a bookies he has a nice win on the dogs and insists on taking her out for a drink which turns into Tina showing him the sights of Liverpool. But whilst Tina quite likes David all he really wants is to get his leg over.
Now if you haven't seen "Before Sunrise" the set up basically goes that we have two strangers spending a day together wandering around a city seeing sights, having fun and talking about things especially themselves whilst an undercurrent of romance flows. It is a simple idea but one in this case which works thanks to the simple fact that both David and Tina are grounded characters and not pretentious fauxs who talk about philosophical things. As such we learn several things about them from Tina caring for her down syndrome brother to David whilst shallow also having a heart of gold living with his depressive mother. But the whole time we also have this romantic situation where Tina likes David despite his shallowness and he likes her but initially just thought she would be a goer.
But in truth "Don't Worry About Me" is less about what happens but about the characters and I include Liverpool as a character. Actor David Morrissey makes his debut outing as movie director here and in doing so has picked a story which allows him to pay homage to his hometown as we get to see various Liverpool sights. And it is wonderful to watch from the building with a wall which spins out to the iron men on the beach all of which is not falsely beautified but shown in their natural and often witty beauty such as the statue of Queen Victoria which when viewed from a certain angle appears to have an amusing appendage.
The city of Liverpool also acts to highlight the differences between David and Tina because David is uncultured and a typical lad whilst Tina can appreciate certain things a lot more. That brings me on to the characters because we have chalk n cheese with David coming across as a shallow prat who can't take things seriously whilst Tina after a hard life is more sensitive. It makes for numerous memorable interactions as their differences clash but also adds some charm when Tina manages to find the sensitive side to David whilst he also finds the fun loving side which she buried having had to look after her family.
Now it has to be said that whilst Helen Elizabeth and James Brough wrote the original play and adapted it with Morrissey for the screen play it is very much Helen Elizabeth's movie. Her performance as Tina is simply beautiful, sensitive yet witty and packed full of character as if Tina is her and she is going through the emotions of reliving her life. A scene where she pours out her heart, breaking down over the hard life she has had is spellbinding and is so perfect that you could watch an entire movie built on that one scene. The sad thing is that Brough actually plays David really well getting across his uncouth shallowness but because David is so less likeable than Tina it doesn't seem such an astonishing performance.
What this all boils down to is that "Don't Worry About Me" is a very good movie and a nice British take on the double header. Some might view it less favourably than say "Before Sunrise" for its rawness but I actually preferred its less pretentious nature making it far easier to connect with the characters especially that of Tina thanks to an astonishing performance from Helen Elizabeth.
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