Nowhere Special by Uberto Pasolini is for sure James Norton’s best performance so far. His eyes say what the viewer needs to know. A tremendous performance that has conquered the audience.
John (James Norton, McMafia, Grantchester, War and Peace, Little Women) is a window cleaner in Belfast and a single father of 4-year-old Michael (newcomer Daniel Lamont). Michael’s mother left just after he was born. Just a few bedtime stories and deseeds grape later, when we are madly in love with John already, we learn that he is terminally ill and in needs to find as soon as possible a foster house for Michael. A punch in the stomach and, in the dark of the room, in this hot afternoon of September, in the most beautiful city in the world, Venice, I’m already on my second pack of kleenex. Luckily my mask covers more than half of my face because I am a blubbering mess.
Director Uberto Pasolini (Bel Ami) doesn’t make the work easy for the audience, focusing on heartbreaking details: ice-cream paired cones, syncro steps to the nursery, matching caps, Michael throwing a tantrum over his pajama options, and John reaction to that, …
When it comes to candidates adopting families, none seems to match the perfect picture idea John has in mind for Michael.
Are the families not enough for his son or being himself a product of the foster houses, is John judgment too harsh? Comes to his aid a young social worker, Shona (Eileen O’Higgins, Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scotland). With her help, John seems finally ready to accept their situation and his unchanging fate because we soon become aware that all this focusing on his son is just a way for John to avoid coming to terms with his reality.
Nowhere Special is an intimate family drama where there is no space, better to say where there is no time, for sentimentalism.
Inspired by a true story, this movie is a portrait of love and grief, and I am not ashamed to say that I haven’t been able to kick that pain out of my chest for a very long time after that September afternoon. Sometimes, actually, it popped into my mind out of the blue and hits me as hard as the first time in the most human way.
Nowhere Special, out on July 16th (Ireland)