The Waiting Room (15)

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The Independent Culture

Roger Goldby's debut feature examines romantic discontent among a bunch of thirtyish south Londoners. An old man (Frank Finlay) brings together a single mum (Anne-Marie Duff) and a care-home worker (Ralf Little) who have both stalled in their relationships: she's having an affair with her neighbour (Rupert Graves); he's got cold feet about his girlfriend (Christine Bottomley) wanting a baby.

The picture scores highly in individual scenes and in a trio of top-notch performances – Duff, Little and Zoe Telford as the deceived wife – but it lacks a strong narrative thrust, and drifts when you'd like it to exert some pressure. The script also succumbs to a sentimentality over children, as if the mere sight of a character being a "good parent" wipes the moral slate clean. Yet there are moments to make one hopeful of Goldby's next venture.

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