“In Our Name” is a hauntingly beautiful film, the second in the series of new independent films that comes to us as part of the From Britain With Love film festival playing in Santa Monica.
It tells the story of how difficult it is to return to civilian life after a tour in Iraq — but this time from a woman’s point of view.
Suzy (Joanne Froggatt) is a soldier returning to England after serving in the war. She is returning to her husband Mark (Mel Raido), a soldier who had served in Iraq before her and is home to take care of their small daughter (Chloe-Jayne Wilkinson).
Momentarily thrilled to see her family — her parents and sister have also gathered to welcome her — she soon lapses into a troubled silence. You can feel her sense of disorientation and “otherness” as she struggles to reach out to her daughter, who resentfully rejects her. In turn, she cannot help but reject her husband and turn away from his attempts at intimacy. Both are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, but while hers takes a more subtle, anguished form, his manifests itself in harsh, bullying outbursts.
She is suffering with her memories of the war, haunted by the death of a little girl she had befriended. She is isolated in her unhappiness, unable to express her pain except in strange, disconnected spurts. And when her war buddy, Paul (Andrew Knott), comes to visit her, he is assaulted by Mark, who is suspicious of their relationship.
Although she insists that there was nothing between her and Paul, there is an intimacy that develops between people continually facing terror and death together, even if there is no sex involved. Mark knows this, and so does Suzy.
Director and screenwriter Brian Walsh has steered his cast of excellent actors through this experience with tenderness, understanding, and soft regrets. There are very few scenes of the war itself. This is a story about its emotional aftermath.
“In Our Name” will be showing for the first time in America at the Laemmle theatres in Santa Monica, Encino, Pasadena, and Claremont this Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26 at 11 a.m.
Cynthia Citron can be reached at email@example.com.