Faraway is a delightful 40-something romance comedy drama from Vanessa Jopp in the vein of Shirley Valentine, The Durrells and The Good Life. The story follows an unhappily married woman, who breaks free from domestic strife to take a long overdue holiday. Instead of Greece, we’re whisked away to a beautiful Croatian coastline where the world-weary Zeynep discovers an unexpected guest in the seaside house her deceased mother bought a long time ago. Both intent on being left alone, the two find a way to co-exist without threat of eviction.
Co-leads, Naomi Krauss and Goran Bogdan, have wonderful on-screen chemistry that informs their rickety feud turned friendship. Krauss isn’t as peppy as Pauline Collins but makes a more grounded and refreshing lead who softens as she allows sunshine back into her life. Bogdan is a mix of Ray Romano and Gerard Depardieu, capturing the unassuming charm and bridge troll temperament of a man striving to live a simple life. Both 40 going 50, this adds to Faraway’s offbeat sense of humour and often frank dialogue without losing its air of fun and romance.
A bit rough around the edges, there’s an inherent sweetness to this unconventional love story that compels it beyond genre trappings. While Faraway leans quite heavily on the genre’s well-worn grooves, what makes it special is its authentic feel and spirited performances from across its ensemble.
“Are you sure this is what sun-kissed means?”
Shot on location in Croatia and Germany, the breathtaking vistas and deep blue ocean underpin the film’s escapist holiday ambitions and travelogue vibrations. Coupled with a relatively unknown cast, Faraway has an earthiness that distinguishes this romance comedy drama from its contemporaries without shying away from matter-of-fact nudity and coarse language.
The Shirley Valentine parallels are strong but not overpowering, refreshed by the story’s focus and cultural differences. While a heartfelt tale, it’s also joyful in its spontaneity with a constant reminder to live in the moment. Filled with highs and lows, Faraway remains entertaining with a good sense of humour, steady pacing and a bittersweet undertone. Rarely a false moment, the film’s authenticity, down-to-earth cast and spirited performances give it a rustic charm and inspired candour.
The bottom line: Heartfelt