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Review: Euro dramedy 'Anchor and Hope' is a messy look at the making of a modern family

Review: Euro dramedy 'Anchor and Hope' is a messy look at the making of a modern family
David Verdaguer, Natalia Tena, center, and Oona Chaplin in the movie "Anchor and Hope." (Wolfe Releasing)

There’s a potentially smart and sexy lesbian dramedy at the heart of “Anchor and Hope” that gets lost amid idiosyncratic filmmaking and a lack of narrative discipline.

Director Carlos Marques-Marcet (“10.000 km”) has obvious affection for his three protagonists and their conflicted dynamic as well as for the film’s picturesque setting in the London canal system. But he and co-writer Jules Nurrish don’t create fully dimensional or engaging enough characters to keep us invested in this unevenly paced, overlong film.

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Lovers Eva (Oona Chaplin, Charlie’s granddaughter) and Kat (Natalia Tena) enjoy a romantic, free-spirited life on Kat’s little houseboat. But Eva, unlike Kat, wants a child, and the issue is starting to get between them.

Enter Roger (David Verdaguer), Kat’s fun-loving, womanizing pal from Barcelona, who arrives for an open-ended visit. In short order, Eva convinces him to serve as a sperm donor — and nothing more — so she and Kat can start a family. Kat’s cornered and agrees to the plan, but a bumpy ride is predictably in store. Meanwhile, Eva’s wacky mom (Geraldine Chaplin, Oona’s real-life mother) pops up with random guidance.

If Eva and Kat were only selfless and mature enough to have a real conversation before bringing out the baster, the film could have focused more on the making of a modern family than the unmaking of a longtime relationship.

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‘Anchor and Hope’

In English and Spanish with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Playing: Starts Nov. 16, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood; available on VOD, Nov. 20

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