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  • Writer's pictureSteve

It Snows in Benidorm (2020)

Perhaps its my age, but Timothy Spall's Peter resonated with me more than I would like to admit. I'm not entirely sure how I would cope with enforced early retirement either. I'd probably get a new job somewhere else and live on my pension, such as it is.

This honest, genuine soul seems out of sorts with the rest of society and his workplace that reminded me of The Stanley Parable, the story of a faceless office droid, that never says boo to a goose and is happy for the anonymity his quiet, unassuming demeanour produces.

When he is let go from his job, he decides to venture to Benidorm to see his brother, only to find that his brother appears to have left the building, so to speak. Peter is confused and politely befuddled as only the elderly Englishman abroad can be, of course.

Spall is a pearl of an actor, we knew that much already, and he envelops Peter's character here with just as much style, skill and verve as he does with every project, as we would expect, rounding the lost in translation element of his stranger in a strange land to the hilt, walking through the town of Benidorm open-mouthed, with equal parts stupefied mortification at the behaviour of his fellow humans and genuine curiosity of the situation in which he seems to have helplessly found himself.

And there are agog elements of 'how the hell did I get here?' aplenty, but not at the cost of embracing the moments that I can only assume are normal for this part of the world that I have yet to get to. Benidorm was always a little too 'fish and chips' for my parents as I grew up, so I have been left with that opinion ever since, never knowing any better. But the scenes here would appear to echo that feeling; raucous hen parties, strippers, drag queens and Elvis impersonators.

The pace is sedentary, however, and it ambles through most of its running time and many may find this somewhat aggravating, but this appears to be deliberate, highlighting the pace that Peter carries out his day to day affairs, regardless of his location.

Performed admirably, this is a simple, undemanding story which will rarely raise your temperature any more than the Benidorm Tourist Board would thank it for. Almost delicate with moments of very dry humour and considered character development, if you have the patience for it, this is ultimately a more rewarding experience than you would imagine, but nonetheless, far from a classic.

On the plus side, who wouldn't like to sit on the beach at sunset and read Sylvia Plath only a minute away from her house?


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