Director: Fyzal Boulifa
Writer: Fyzal Boulifa
Starring: Nichola Burley, Roxanne Scrimshaw, Jennifer Lee Moon
Lynn (Scrimshaw) and Lucy (Burley) have been close friends since school and have been inseparable since – even living as neighbours and young mothers on the same housing estate. However, a tragic turn of events and revelations of fears and resentments in the local community tests the very foundation of their friendship.
Gossip and rumours can of course have the power to potentially change lives forever, and it is that simple but ultimately extremely powerful concept that lies at the heart of Fyzal Boulifa’s exceptional drama. This allows it to explore many pertinent themes such as the power (and ultimate fragility) of friendship, class and community – which makes Lynn + Lucy an incredibly engaging, powerful and unforgettable tragic examination of how we are all living on a knife edge in that we are potentially one piece of ill-founded gossip or rumour away from our entire life being changed forever, especially when living on a council estate like our protagonists do where everyone knows everyone and there are a few personal grudges and vendettas.
They do often say that opposites attract, and this can certainly apply to friendships; Lynn has always been the quiet one, and she had a child at sixteen and married the father, and has always been content with her lot and never expected or wanted more. However, Lucy was always the wild one, but she now has a new-born baby, but her reaction to this is of course very different to Lynn – who now has to deal with a teenage daughter and a passionless marriage. Lynn and Lucy now not only live opposite each other within the housing estate that they grew up in, but also now have more in common than ever – Lynn does even pressure Lucy into getting her child christened so that she can be the godmother. However, it is clear that Lucy is not taking to the required domesticity of having a child quite as naturally as Lynn did, especially because of her toxic relationship with the father, but Lynn and Lucy do ultimately have each other.
However, when tragedy strikes in Lucy’s household reputations and gossip combined with personal grudges and agendas all start to dominate the discussions within the estate, and this does inevitably challenge what was always thought to be an unbreakable bond of friendship – and the consequences are inevitably severe. This also happens at the same time as when Lynn has taken what is her first ‘proper’ job at a local salon, and her new boss and fellow employees have some personal grudges, vendettas and agendas that will inevitably influence the good-natured Lynn’s opinions. Though the ideas and concepts at the centre of the narrative of Lynn + Lucy are certainly nothing new, they are still extremely pertinent and powerful, and the situations that arise believable and relatable. We not only believe in the friendship between the two protagonists, but also deeply care about them, and cannot help but be deeply moved (and occasionally horrified) by what happens within the narrative.
What also makes this such an engrossing drama are the raw performances; Non-professional actor Roxanne Scrimshaw is exceptional as Lynn, and she perfectly captures her character’s idealist and good natured (and occasionally naïve) approach to life – which is of course ultimately taken advantage of and influenced by those around her with their own personal agendas. Nichola Burley is also excellent as the more free-spirited Lucy. Likewise, the supporting the cast are also outstanding, and both the script and their performances makes sure that these characters are genuinely believable and not just narrative-based clichés.
Lynn + Lucy is not only a social realist drama, but also in some ways a horror, as what happens within the narrative in what is a piece of fiction can easily be happening right now within one of Britain’s many housing estates – or indeed a famous individual via a news headline. This is a compelling, unforgettable and heart wrenching drama from start to finish that should be seen by all.
An unforgettable character-driven drama that takes what is a seemingly simple concept and turns it into a relatable and deeply engaging modern-day tragedy; Lynn + Lucy is cinema at its most raw and powerful.
At time of writing Lynn + Lucy is available to stream on Amazon Prime (via BFI player)