Strawberry Fields is the story of two sisters who both like the same man but in different ways and is a bold and inventive melodrama that offers a distinctively refreshing spin on a complex...
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Strawberry Fields is the story of two sisters who both like the same man but in different ways and is a bold and inventive melodrama that offers a distinctively refreshing spin on a complex story of lust, rivalry and liberation. A seemingly carefree woman is seen cycling through narrow lanes before reaching a strawberry farm where she takes on a job, living in a shabby caravan, starting to develop friendships with her co-workers and in particular one rugged farmhand, Kev. Although aloof and mysterious it's not until a dazzling woman appears in the strawberry fields that we discover who she was running away from - her sister, Emily. Emily is eccentric to the point of dangerous and it's not long before the two sisters form a battle of wills with Kev caught in the crossfire.
Frances Lea's low budget movie 'Strawberry Fields' is beautifully filmed, and she has also chosen a cast with very interesting faces: Anna Madely reminds me of Katlin Cartlidge, while Christine Bottomley's visage is attractive but somehow intrinsically Machiavellian. The story is one of young people with 'nothing else to do', to quote Jarvis Cocker: there's a lot of sex, violence and intoxication going on here. In fact, the social dynamic of this group of fruit-pickers (hence the film's title) is not quite convincing: we're introduced to the set-up with a line that sounds like a carbon copy of Obi-Wan Kenobi's introduction to Mos-Eisely!, and the strange relationship between the two sisters at the heart of the story is beguiling but never completely explained. In part, this is because what's "real" is not absolute, even to the characters themselves; but it makes it hard to get a sense of what's really at stake, and the movie itself is too kind on Emun Elliott's male lead, who viewed rationally has no redeeming qualities. To be frank, this film is not utterly convincing as narrative or a piece of social realism; but it's a dreamy, evocative and quite distinctive portrait of a summer of "love" on England's south coast.
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