Nobody Has to Know12A
Nobody wants to see a film about ‘old farts’ falling in love. That’s what Hollywood would have us believe, as it aims the majority of its output squarely at a younger demographic.
But despite being force-fed the notion that love is only for the under thirties, there are many over that age who, believe it or not, know a thing about relationships too, the good and the bad.
This film, set in a remote part of Scotland, bucks that trend, by highlighting a rare event in film, a relationship by a pair in their fifties.
Living on a Scottish isle is Philippe (Bouli Lanners). Although originally from Belgium, he now finds himself helping out on a farm, with a lot of fences needing fixing.
Then one day at work, he finds himself keeling over and rushed to hospital. It transpires he’s had a stroke, which has lead to him suffering from short-term memory loss. He soon gets discharged however and sent home.
One of the first signs of his memory loss appears when he arrives home only to find he has a dog, which as far as he knows, he’s never had. But then maybe he has.
Another is a helpful woman, Millie (Michelle Fairley), who is keen to help him out as best she can. He eventually learns that they have been involved in some capacity for a while, but have kept their relationship between the two of them.
Again, Philippe has no memory of having this relationship, but spending time in her company, he doesn’t doubt it. They rekindle their relationship once again, but still keeping it between themselves. But despite their intimacy, both are keeping secrets from one another, with neither keen to share.
Not only does Lanners co-star in the film, the Belgian has also written and directed it. It is a film where the landscape plays a big role; its harshness and space translates to its characters, where dialogue is often replaced with a simple knowing glance, which in this case, is just as effective.
It’s a film about love, and how a middle-aged couple struggle to navigate its waters. They are both holding back, but only as a way of protecting the other.
If you dissect the actual storyline however, it could be construed as being quite dark and manipulative, and yet on the screen, it’s just an outpouring of love, in the most restrained manner.
It’s brimming with stark beauty, which will resonate with anyone who has ever been in love, regardless of their age. There’s something raw and touching however about a couple that, despite their age and experience, still struggle to get their shit together, which is no doubt more reflective of reality. Also proving that films about more mature characters are just as important and relevant, and deserving of a voice like this one.
Although it feels just as bleak as its landscape on occasion, Nobody Has to Know is quietly intense, brave, rippling with an undercurrent of passion, that will mostly break your heart in the most unexpected moving fashion.