Review: Powder Room

18 Nov 13

Sam (Sheridan Smith) is an adorable, clumsy, nervous young lady whose life is not going the way she had hoped. Caught up in dreams of doing better, she meets up with Michelle (Kate Nash), an old friend from college, and her glamorous, beautiful Parisian friend Jess (Oona Chaplin). Sam has been enviously following Michelle’s life on Facebook ever since she moved to France, and hearing about her engagement and successful job first-hand only serves to increase her envy. Sam finds herself painting her life in a more positive light than it really appears: she invents a career as a lawyer and pretends she’s still with her old boyfriend, Sean.

All seems to be going to plan and she appears to have been accepted by the glamorous ladies. But then her old friends show up. Loud, bawdy and thoroughly dysfunctional, Chanel (Jaime Winstone), Saskia (Sarah Hoare) and Paige (Riann Steele) do not back up the impression that Sam is trying to give. Desperate not to let her carefully constructed lies fall down around her, Sam spends the evening avoiding both groups of women in turn, trying to pretend that nothing is wrong whilst desperately hoping she can keep it together just for one night.

It’s a bit of an odd premise, a film set almost entirely in the women’s toilets, and it’s not the best acting I’ve ever seen. There were parts that felt very much like an A level drama performance; a good one, admittedly, but not quite movie quality. And yet, despite all this and despite the storyline being quite bleak, I left the cinema feeling strangely uplifted. Sam was lost, that was plain to see, and we’ve all been there. Her friends were adorable, if a bit crazy, and the allure of getting out and finding a better existence is one that many people have felt at some point in their lives.

The band deserve a shout-out, too: Fake Club were one of my favourite parts of the movie, and definitely helped to move it from A-level drama into something I’d probably watch again.

Worth a night out with the girls if you’re feeling like seeing something unusual, comical and quintessentially English in the most current sense of the term.

Powder Room comes out in cinemas on the 6th of December 2013.

6/10 – A strangely uplifting film that isn’t afraid to laugh at itself.