Second film - Development 2014

Action speak louder than words

    • Year of production
    • 2014
    • Genres
    • Second film, Comedy, Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Writer(s)
    • Anna SOUTHGATE
    • Producer(s)
    • Angela GORDON, Anna SOUTHGATE
    • Synopsis
    • Lilly’s suspension from school could not have come at a worse time for her father. Provisionally appointed first violin in advance of a world tour, Joe knows he needs to impress Marisa, his tempestuous Italian conductor - especially now that their relationship has ignited into a full-blooded affair. But Joe’s estranged wife is determined to make him play his part in their daughter’s upbringing. And the school’s psychologist is in no doubt that Lilly’s behavioural issues are due to her father’s absence.
      A week with dad is the one thing that will prevent an irreparable dent in her self-esteem. And as he’s about to disappear off the map again - it’s now or never.
      The question is - where will they stay? The marital home is no longer an option. Nor is Marisa’s elegant penthouse. But Joe’s obsessive gambling (one of the many things that led to the disintegration of his marriage) means he has no money for a hotel. And in any case, a normal domestic set-up is deemed crucial to Lilly’s rehabilitation. Unable to dodge his parental duties, Joe takes a short-term rent in the basement of a grand but dilapidated house close to the concert hall. The house is owned by Queenie, an eccentric alcoholic and her awkward 28 year old daughter Rachel.
      If Joe was hoping for some quiet time to practise the violin, he soon learns that living with a Deaf child is a constant cacophony. And when smashing crockery, slamming doors and blasting the TV at full volume doesn’t get the attention she craves - Lilly resorts to hacking off Queenie’s hydrangeas with her father’s bow and re-decorating the walls in ketchup.
      Joe was always too absorbed in his music to learn to sign. If only he could tune into Lilly’s wavelength, he’d discover a warm, sensitive, loving little girl, with a wicked sense of humour and an uncanny ability to ‘read’ other people - not just their lips but their body language too. When nicotine-stained gambling buddy Sidney turns up for a game of poker with his two sizeable side-kicks, Joe dismisses Lilly’s hostility as childish paranoia. To his cost, Joe later discovers that the ‘yellow man’ with the yapping Jack Russell in the pannier of his mobility scooter is far from the harmless old codger he appears.
      In the meantime, dealing with their ‘dysfunctional’ relatives creates an unexpected bond between Joe and Rachel - a bond which slowly teases Rachel out of her shell, and finally opens Joe’s eyes to the damage caused to a young girl when her father walks out. But their growing intimacy provokes violent reactions in Marisa, in Queenie... and most of all, in Lilly, who vents her frustration by stealing a milk-float and driving it straight over Rachel’s foot.
      In a bid to escape the consequences, Lilly rushes back to the house and locks herself in the den. So when Joe and Rachel return from A&E, to find the house ablaze and Queenie being wheeled out on a gurney, the finger of suspicion immediately points at Lilly. Especially when the burnt-out microwave is discovered stuffed full of cutlery and aluminium foil. Only later do they discover that Queenie’s near-death experience was caused not by smoke inhalation but by an overdose of pills and whiskey. And Lilly, unable to raise the alarm, had started a fire to draw attention to Queenie’s inert body.
      With the basement now uninhabitable, Joe and Lilly are invited to move in upstairs. Hatchets are buried, relationships forged. But the new domestic harmony is quickly shattered when the ‘yellow man’ turns up again and threatens to break Joe’s fingers if he doesn’t pay his debts.
      In spite of his strenuous efforts to protect his daughter, Lilly’s unconditional love for Joe makes it impossible to stop her from wading into the fray. And so, after years of putting his passion for music before his responsibilities as a parent, Joe is forced to make the toughest decision of his life...
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