Director Bryn Higgins’ sensitive and sincere examination of epilepsy benefits from a stand-out performance by Agyness Deyn as Lily and some excellent special effects for the seizure sequences. Lily is an ordinary lass in a northern town but the constant bouts of epileptic fits make her life a nightmare. This is not helped by her place in a dysfunctional family but a new chance is given her with the sale of her late mother’s house.
Her callous gambling addict brother Barry (Paul Anderson) wants to split the windfall two ways and forget about their missing brother Mickey. But Lily, remembering their closeness as a child, decides to go to London and search the city streets for him. But the epilepsy is made worse by the hectic pace of London life and we see from her perspective a number of attacks. These are brutally but beautifully depicted with special effects to conjure up the hallucinations. These cinematic experiments really capture the internal experience with blurring colours and dizzying strobing.
This is no spoiler but when Lily finally does track down Mickey things temporarily actually take a turn for the worse. The outcome, however, is that Lily comes to terms with her inner demons and gains a previously seemingly impossible self-confidence and freedom. This is a sympathetic take on its subject and manages to both educate and reveal truths to the viewer in a way which only cinema at its best can manage. Haunting and touching too.
Reviewed by Rich Jevons. Shows at Seven Arts, Leeds on 18th January 2016.