In Review

Help review: a poignant and angry drama set in a care home

Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham star in this powerful pandemic film 

Writer Jack Thorne wanted to make us angry about the way care-home residents were “all but abandoned” when the pandemic struck in 2020 – and he has certainly succeeded, said Anita Singh in The Daily Telegraph

Help is a film “brimming with humanity”, featuring great performances from Jodie Comer as Sarah, a newly qualified carer at a home in Liverpool, and Stephen Graham as Tony, a resident with early-onset Alzheimer’s. There are funny and poignant scenes showing the pair’s growing bond – and then the virus strikes, brought in by a patient discharged from hospital to free up beds, despite the Government’s promise that it has thrown a “protective ring” around care homes. 

The film’s power comes from its “honesty, soul and almost documentary-like realism”, said Carol Midgley in The Times. Patients drop like flies, while staff are forced to work without PPE. Then, as the staff too fall ill, Sarah is left to cope single-handedly on a 20-hour shift. It’s an “eviscerating” scene, and deeply shaming. The final act, in which Sarah breaks Tony out, is less “convincing”, said Lucy Mangan in The Guardian. But that hardly detracts from the power of the rest.

Watch on Channel4.com 

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