BFI London Flare Film Festival Review – Jump, Darling (2020)

From director/writer Phill Connell comes the beautiful queer drama of budding drag queen Russell, a.k.a Fishy Falters. When his dreams of acting fall flat, Russell flees his performing job at a drag bar to stay with his grandma. Frail yet feisty, Margaret refuses to be committed to a care home, so Russell takes it upon himself to look after her. Old family truths are uncovered, and the two very different characters are united by their love and understanding for each other—despite a prickly start.

The contrast between young old—starting life and ending it—builds a bridge between Russell and Margaret as they both search for their paths in life. The generational divide doesn’t push them apart—in fact it brings them together, providing a sense of clarity to their own lives. Russell is moody but kind, blooming with confidence when stepping into drag; Margaret is hard-edged and matter-of-fact, yet her token phrase “darling” hints to the loving nature underneath.

 

A moment of appreciation must be taken for Cloris Leachman’s performance, humbly bringing her acting career to a close at the impressive age of ninety-four! Thomas Duplessie delivers a similarly sophisticated performance, gifting viewers with a charming and tender film. Jump, Darling‘s camerawork is reflective in conjunction to the story, treating themes of old age and suicide with gentle grace. Connell’s unforced snapshot into modern life and family dynamics is quietly dramatic, showcased as part of the BFI London Flare Film Festival 2021 in celebration of the LGBTQ+ film community.