Cemetery Junction (2010)
Plot: It’s 1973, three friends decide they want to leave their hometown Cemetery Junction but in order to achieve their goals they’ll have to make life-changing choices.
Director: Ricky Gervais; Stephen Merchant.
Cast: Christian Cooke, Felicity Jones, Tom Hughes, Jack Doolan, Emily Watson, Ricky Gervais, Matthew Goode, Ralph Fiennes.
It’s summer 1973 in the small English town of Cemetery Junction as we meet three young friends from the working class: Freddie (Christian Cooke), Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Paul, nicknamed ‘Snork’ (Jack Doolan). They all have different dreams: Freddie wants to get a proper job and escape from the working class life; Bruce spends his time fighting and drinking in pubs but keeps saying that he wants to leave the town, and; Snork is the loveable dork who is actually the only one happy to be there. As they face adulthood and what growing up means, things soon get more and more complicated.
Freddie takes up a job for Mr. Kendrick (Ralph Fiennes) as a door-to-door seller for Life Insurance, and soon finds himself in a situation in which he’ll have to make an important choice. The film portrays the differences between the working class and the rich people and particularly the discrepancy between the golden life of Mr. Kendrick – who seems to be living in the 1950s – and the 1970s life of the people outside his golden cage. This is shown through the lives of Bruce’s and Freddie’s parents, as they work in a factory and scrape a living. While the Kendricks are the picture of a perfect family, at least from the outside, Bruce comes from a broken home and keeps living as a rebel, behaving antisocially by drinking and picking fights at every opportunity. I think the characters’ relationship with their parents is very important to understand the story and that it is also a way to show the generation gap between them. In the small town of Cemetery Junction time seems to have stopped in the 50’s, especially in Mr. Kendrick’s case. His wife (Emily Watson) and daughter Julie (Felicity Jones) seem to be completely bound to their destinies and to Mr. Kendrick’s will. He has already decided his daughter’s life and marriage with top selling insurance salesman Mike (Matthew Goode).
Cemetery Junction is a lovely and light comedy written by the comedian Ricky Gervais – who also stars in the film as Freddie’s father – and by Stephen Merchant his The Office co-star. It’s a coming of age story packed with irony which makes you think about the English society of the 70s and leaves you with a bittersweet feeling, while also being rich in heartwarming and funny moments.
The actors’ performances are convincing and the cast includes many well-known English actors and actresses, such as Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson and Felicity Jones, whose performances I much appreciated.
It isn’t an Oscar-worthy film or a masterpiece, but it’s undoubtedly a lively and lovely film to watch on a Saturday evening if you’d rather stay home for the night. Overall it’s a good comedy film and very enjoyable.