0 5 mins 12 yrs

If you’ve seen all the press advertising this you would probably be under the impression this is going to be Karen Gillan’s show, and her chance to show us what she can do outside of Doctor Who’s Amy Pond. In that case you’re going to be disappointed, as I’ll explain later. You will, however, love the real stars of the show, Aneurin Barnard who plays photographer David Bailey and Helen McCrory who is wonderful as Lady Clare.

The first half hour isn’t really much to write home about. It’s 1962; married Bailey who’s a bit of a lad crosses paths with pretty model Jean Shrimpton (Karen Gillan), gets a job at Vogue; requests pretty model; gets her chucked out of home for having affair with her. They get contract to do a shoot for Young Vogue’s Idea in New York and we finally get interesting!

The dynamic of the opposing sides of the battle of Bailey and Lady Clare as his senior are what make this film interesting! Bailey is young and at the forefront of what’s cool and knows what he wants and has no intention of conforming. Lady Clare is upper class and wants the ladies of Vogue to look prim and proper, and for Bailey to follow her every instruction to the letter, all the while looking down on Jean and telling all and sundry her rather rude views on them as individuals…but she’s incredibly funny and a character difficult not to like, even when you see Bailey’s point. My personal favourite line has to be Bailey’s: “Well it wouldn’t upset someone’s mother” to which Lady Clare replies: “Why on earth would I want to upset someone’s mother.”

(Now here’s where Doctor Who fans of Karen Gillan might want to look away!)

I really wanted to watch this and be bowled over by Gillan, but I’m afraid to say, her performance was pretty lacklustre. Main problems being the accent which was intended to be posh English, but instead came across as forced and unnatural (unlike Welsh Barnard who had the Cockney accent to a tee). The character of Jean which in real life I’m told is unassuming, went beyond that for me and was barely visible against the acting talents of the other two. A more experienced actress I think could have made this a much stronger part. It needed an actress who can act with her face and eyes and not just words. Don’t get me wrong, her modelling side was all fine, but I wanted to learn about the person behind the model, and I don’t think she had enough talent or experience to deliver that performance when not in front of Bailey’s camera.

I enjoyed this film for Barnard and McRory’s performances. The music got on my nerves but that’s just personal preference as I don’t like jazz, and there was a slight overuse in showing us picturesque sites of New York, ironic considering the message of setting “the vibe” they were trying to ram home with Bailey. And it’s a Kudos production SO THERE HAS TO BE a “spot the Spooks star” and we had two, if eagle eyed fans noticed, in Anna Chancellor and Robert Glenister.

Something for everyone to a degree as both Aneurin and Karen are picture perfect; I may have fallen a little in love with Aneurin since watching this! McCrory brings humour and emotion, and who can’t smile at the EVER smiling Larry played by Joseph May, but boy does that man need a hefty tip after the weekend he’s had! And as for Karen Gillan…I’d like to say great, wonderful, but I’m afraid as she herself said to Bailey: “Its like I’m not in the room sometimes,” and that’s exactly how I felt too!

A/N This is a copy of my review for SimplyTV