Albatross (15)

Starring: Jessica Brown Findlay, Felicity Jones

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The Independent Culture

Niall MacCormick's debut feature has a puppyish eagerness that doesn't quite deliver.

In a town on the South Coast (it's really the Isle of Man) free-spirited Emelia (Jessica Brown Findlay) causes havoc when she takes a cleaning job at a family-run hotel. She bonds straightaway with Oxbridge hopeful Beth (Felicity Jones), but incites fearful ructions between Beth's writer father (Sebastian Koch) and her ex-actress mum (Julia Ormond). Emelia, from a "no-parent family", believes herself to be a descendant of Arthur Conan Doyle, though the film is mysteriously slow in getting round to a conversation on the subject with her grandfather (Peter Vaughan). And her choice of a creative writing tutor is frankly incredible. Brown Findlay, known to millions as Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey, roughs up nicely as a wild child, but Tamzin Rafn's script, despite the occasional acid bon mot, needs to be a good deal tighter – and truer.