THE first of Saturday’s narrative features at MANIFF 2017 was this small, London-based film about two ex-lovers who bump back into one another, forcing them to open up about the relationship they had and where their lives are now.

The film is perfectly successful in what it sets out to do, which is simply to tell a sweet little story about these two characters who come to realise that they meant more to each other’s lives than they might like to admit.

Set entirely in one afternoon, we follow Emma (Elizabeth Healey), a career woman and Ryan (Keir Charles), a ‘goofball’ character who makes his living creating sandsculptures as they reminisce, both good and bad, about their time together and for the most part, enjoy a spontaneous and fun afternoon together.

The film is certainly quite funny in parts and Charles’ performance as Ryan brings the majority of the humour to it. It’s one that will leave a smile on your face but may not necessarily stick with you for a long time afterwards. The leads show great chemistry in their relationship on screen and are entirely believable as a former couple meeting again after so many years. This is what it seems director, Warren B. Malone was trying to do with this film.

It’s not a film that needs a grand, large scale story; one of the major plot points in the film is the fact that Emma needs to pick up a cake in time for her daughter’s birthday. The simple scenes of the characters walking along the Thames, simply talking, are the strongest in the film and are what make it a success.

Across The River is not a fast paced film, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a quiet story, that takes it’s time to let the audience develop a relationship with its central characters. Yes it goes through most of the beats of a typical romantic comedy-drama but instead of ending with the usual ‘getting together’, it realises that people who have a great effect on each other don’t always end up together.

In that way it called to mind a particular huge current film starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Across The River is one to look out for if you like an easy watch, if you’re a fan of these small relationship-based films. Not as much to say about ‘love’ that something like ‘Public Intimacy’ had but a satisfying, enjoyable, sweet little film nonetheless.

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