Director: Clio Barnard
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
USA Release date: 27th April2011
Watched on DVD Tuesday 7th June 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
‘The Arbor’ of the title refers to a street called the ‘Brafferton Arbor’ on the Buttershaw estate in the city of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The people who lived there back in the 1980’s were not rich, but one of them, Andrea Dunbar, became well known as a playwright. A lot of her work was biographical and this film tells us about her and about her oldest daughter, Lorraine, both through her work and by the use of actors lip-syncing to the voices of her friends and family.
It is no secret that Andrea Dunbar died quite young, but she did have two plays open in London and one of them was made into a film in 1987. This was, of course, Rita, Sue and Bob Too!. If you haven’t seen it and you’re interested in this documentary, it’s one I can recommend. But back to ‘The Arbor’, it is a very touching film at times, it can be quite dark too, but over all the people speaking are very realistic about life, the universe and everything. I found it quite compelling viewing, partly because I work in the city of Bradford and it’s quite sad to think these things are still going on today (particularly around the area where I work). I guess if you’re up for a gritty realistic tale of northern folk then I can highly recommend it.
Just as a footnote, there’s a piece of archive footage of Andrea getting on a train near the end of the film. She is getting the train at my local railway station… A small claim to fame for the town I frequent.
My Score: 7.7/10
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1623008/
RT Page: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_arbor_2010/
Official Site: http://www.artangel.org.uk/projects/2010/the_arbor