Stifled by monotonous school pickups and supermarket trips, Gemma Arterton’s powerful performance as a mother in existential crisis tackling a need to escape.
Tara (Arterton) is a stay-at-home mother of two children, whose identity is so bound to her role that we don’t even learn her name until halfway in. Disconnected from her husband Mark (Dominic Cooper) and their suburban life in a Kent cul-de-sac, Tara struggles to find meaning in her mundane routine. Revealing her despair to Mark in a loaded whisper, “I’m not happy”, she finds her pain misunderstood. Even her own mother (Frances Barber) dismisses her plight, arguing that Tara’s “got it made - two cars and a conservatory!” Yet outward appearances cannot smooth over cracks under the surface. Although the film acknowledges mental health it never touches on it directly, which might be precisely the point it’s making. Tara’s inner turmoil is swept under the rug by her loved ones, failing to open up any compassionate discussion. When she buys a one-way ticket to Paris, it’s unclear when or if she’ll return. The Escape is a raw thought-provoking exploration into taboo aspects of womanhood. (research Rachel Williams). Holding something unspoken, not easily expressed, is a lonely place.
One-way ticket, anyone…?