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23 Walks


Stars: Alison Steadman, Dave Johns

Director: Paul Morrison

Despite its brief bursts of swearing, this is by and large a gentle film about two dog walkers in late middle age whose first frosty encounter in North London parkland (Hampstead Heath?) over his large Alsatian dog not being on a leash soon turns to nodding acquaintance and then walks together through the woodland and grass.

Friendship and possibly romance is on the cards, it seems, but there are skeletons in closets which threaten to throw a number of spanners into the works. There are also the problems of Dave (Johns, from I, Daniel Blake) being behind with the rent and facing eviction from his home, and Fern (Steadman, from pretty much everything over the past 50 years) having to take half the proceeds from her house which her ex insists on selling, and moving on.

Exquisite performances from the two stars - together on screen for most of the runtime - go a long way to compensating for the leisurely pace, though even this is in keeping with their walks together. When the film opens out to include other characters, and the series of partings and comings together gets a bit much, the story loses some - although not all - of its charm. And the two dogs are almost as adorable as the stars.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: Parkland Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 22 Sep 2020