“You know what your problem is? You’re too dry.”
The last line of Kate Lane‘s film Fear of Water is all too fitting. Despite great performances from Skins star Lily Loveless and co-star Chloe Partridge, the slow-moving British film about romantic friendship lacks the depth it believes it has, and leaves viewers bored and wanting.
Eleanor (Chloe) and Alexia (Lily) are part of completely different words. Eleanor’s father is a busy lawyer who makes little time for her when she’s not away at boarding school. Alexia spends most of her time selling drugs and delivering newspapers, helping her injured father and alcoholic mother make ends meet. But despite their class differences, Eleanor and Alexia begin to build a relationship that borders on romantic but is never consummated. Instead, both young women briefly acknowledge they are queer without having any conversations or passionate moments with one another. It’s kind of like My Summer of Love but with less excitement, sex or curiosity.
Fear of Water highlights the similarities between the haves and the have nots through somewhat predictable stories for both of the young women, and there’s no real pay off. Eleanor and Alexia help one another through familial circumstances and, as the title alludes to, Eleanor’s fear of water, but we never find out what either of the women are truly thinking or feeling. There are too many questions left unanswered at the end, including those about both of their sexual identities and how they truly feel about themselves and each other.
Eleanor and Alexia’s friendship does not have the kind of intensity that generally comes from coming-of-age romances, and it’s all the more confusing when Alexia brushes away Eleanor’s singular kiss. The love that is there between two gay (?) young women is too lackluster and based on convenience and boredom than anything else. Fans of Lily Loveless will appreciate seeing her on their screens, but they certainly won’t be satiated with the material she’s given.
You can pre-order Fear of Water on DVD now.