(Release Info London schedule; August 3rd, 2018, Curzon Bloomsbury)
A woman sets out to reclaim her life in this stirring, emotionally rich look at what it means to start over.
Tara (Gemma Arterton), a housewife and mother in suburban London, is living a life that's no longer hers; it belongs to her loving but overworked, self-absorbed husband Marc (Dominic Cooper), her young son Phillipe (Jalil Lespert) and daughter Alison (Frances Barber) and the numbing routine of housework and childcare. In desperate need of a change, Tara one day makes a bold decision. Armed with a one-way ticket to Paris, she leaves everything behind to rediscover herself in a new city, but walking out on your life isn’t so simple. "The Escape" is a perceptive, deeply compassionate portrait of a woman on the rocky road to becoming herself.
The resulting story is an intimate portrait of Tara, a married woman who seemingly has it all, but is deeply unhappy. She feels trapped in the role of a stay-at-home wife and mother and yearns for more fulfilment. Tara is not perfect either, she’s very depressed. Tara knows she should be happy and that everyone expects her to be, but this pressure is slowly destroying her and all she can think about is escape. The trauma of that experience is quite clear to see in terms of Tara’s character, but at the same time Tara makes us understand why she does what she does and it plays on our sensibilities.
Mark is initially oblivious of Tara’s despair. He takes pride in providing for his family, believing that everything is perfect, but he's not an emotionally intelligent man, which means he's unable to tune in to Tara’s needs until it's too late. And even then he does not possess the emotional skills to respond to her in the right way. He makes it very difficult for Tara to leave him and a fundamental part of the film is that she needs to leave him. He makes it difficult not because he’s a bad guy, but because he’s clumsy and emotionally inept. He’s trying to do the right thing but manages to do the wrong thing each time. Mark thinks that he has done everything possible to keep his family afloat, to give them what they need. He thinks he's giving them the right amount of love and he thinks everything is perfect, but the foundations are about to crumble, things are about to fall to pieces and he does not have the ability to deal with it or salvage it, because he's so removed from the person that he's married to.
Husbands sometimes can behave in subtlety dismissive and inattentive ways; they’re very focused on themselves and their routines and always wants to show that aspect of a relationship. Mark is like that, but when he realises that his marriage is falling apart, he’s able to deal with it in a way that shows he's actually a sensitive person. They want all the elements of modern life which apparently make everyone happy and content. But it clearly isn’t everything for Tara. Mark sees things in a straightforward way, there’s nothing wrong with how he views his life. So it comes as a surprise to him that Tara feels the way she does and the depth of her dissatisfaction.
The subject matter is about a mother who leaves her family. We've to look at the process of how that mother leaves her children and what she leaves it for and why. The film is really interested in the detail of relationships, the kind of stuff that might not necessarily be considered dramatic but is fascinating because of a kind of authenticity. And of course the most interesting stuff is not calm and happy. Nobody's life is that necessarily, even the happiest of relationships have difficulties. This story is provocative and concerns the more difficult things in life. Life is not perfect for anyone; often we’re locked into a cycle of just getting on with it. It’s a deep and detailed look at what someone goes through in a particular time of their life and deals with what makes us truly happy, what are our inspirations and what we live for. It’s a good point of discussion, perhaps it will open couples up to talking about what they’re really feeling rather than bottling it up and letting it all explode in a devastating way. If it can make people understand that maybe you don’t have to settle and that you can decide to change your life then that’s a good thing.