Joanna Scanlan in After Love. Photo: Ran Studio

The best films in the UK this summer

First Cow plus After Love
May 4, 2021

First Cow, In cinemas and Mubi, 28th May

Having already put her stamp on the western genre with Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt brings a quietly subversive revisionist spin to her depiction of frontier masculinity, with this exquisite study of male friendship, nurturing and cake baking. Exploring the bond between two outsiders in search of a better life, the film is a gentle pleasure, but an invigorating one. With crisply detailed cinematography and unassuming humour in the writing, it’s a picture that is as lovely and soulful as its eponymous bovine star.

After Love, In cinemas 4th June

Devastated by the sudden death of her husband, Mary Hussain (Joanna Scanlan delivering a career-best performance) is further rocked by the discovery that he had a secret life. This elegant first feature from Aleem Khan explores, with insight and sensitivity, the plight of a woman who finds herself culturally and emotionally cut adrift. The use of backdrop—Dover, with its jarring combination of wide-open horizons and insularity, and Calais, which feels both provincial and, for Mary, impossibly alien—is particularly evocative.

Land, In cinemas 4th June

Actress Robin Wright stars in and makes her feature directing debut with Land, a portrait of Edee, a woman attempting to overcome her trauma by forging a new life, off grid, in a photogenic corner of Wyoming. The film captures the slow rhythms of day-to-day subsistence, and the precarious nature of a life without a safety net, in which one greedy bear can wreak havoc on the delicate balancing act that is survival. However, although she seeks solitude, Edee eventually realises that she needs a friend.