Gemma Arterton is starting to become the darling of the Glasgow Film
Festival. After last year’s screening at the festival of her film, Their
Finest, she returns this year in person, even a blizzard couldn’t keep her
away, for a screening of her latest movie, The Escape.
In The Escape, Arterton, wonderful in the role, plays Tara, a young married
mother with two children who is starting to doubt her own worth and her
very existence. Every day life is the same, her husband Mark (Dominic
Cooper) goes to work and leaves her to deal with the children and the
domestic chores. Her only spell away from her home is when she goes to the
supermarket or to pick up her children from school.
Slipping deeper and deeper into depression she eventually tells her
husband, after one of their many sexual encounters where it’s obvious that
the only one getting any pleasure from it is Mark, “I’m not happy and I
need to do something else”, referring to their marriage, not the sex, or
maybe it was the sex, you can make up your own mind on that one.
Director Dominic Savage uses close ups for a lot of the running time, he
particularly focuses for large parts of the film on Tara’s eyes, which as
her depression deepens, become sadder and sadder.
Stuck in a life that she slowly starts to realise she no longer wants, she
tells her husband that she no longer cares for the children and doesn’t
care if they get dressed or go to school. Tara then leaves the family home
and heads off to Paris in the hope that she might find the happiness there
that she can’t find in her own life back home.
As Tara’s story unfolds it becomes harder and harder to have any sympathy
In a Paris museum she meets a French photographer and both are immediately
attracted to each other. Whilst walking around Paris they confide in each
other, she telling him that she doesn’t have a boyfriend, he telling her
that “he doesn’t have time for a girlfriend”.
The couple then spend the night together, but in the morning the
photographer’s mobile phone rings and she sees a picture of a baby on the
screen and before answering he terminates the call. When he’s quizzed by
her he admits to having a child and a wife, “but they’re going through a
divorce” he tells her. Finding this out she tells him that he’s lied to her
and tells him to leave her room immediately.
The photographer for all intense and purposes is Tara, she also has a life
that she won’t take responsibility for.
In spite of the title it’s hard by the end to actually see what Tara is in
fact escaping from, is it depression, is it her life, is it her marriage,
or is it in fact her own children?
There are those who will see Tara as the victim and those that will see her
two young children and to a lesser extent her husband, who could have done
more to help solve his wife’s problems, as the actual victims. I’ll make no
judgments and leave it for you to decide who the actual victim is in this