Review: Between the Lines

Directed by Dom Lee and written by Elisabeth Burnette, Grace Hancock and Camilla Joyce, shy book lover Jane is unexpectedly tasked with having to save her beloved library from closure…but help arrives in a surprising form. Starring: Alex Stewart, Adam Kurton, Tim McGill, Naomi Richards, Beth Frígot, Simon Alison, Lee Rawlings, Roxanne Eastaugh, Elvira Higueras, Simon Ford and Trevenen Harry.

Libraries are an important and fantastic resource which are constantly undervalued in modern society, so it’s great to see Between the Lines celebrating their value. This film’s style is absolutely filled with enthusiasm, it’s akin to the tone and vibrancy that you get from a pantomime. It’s a style that comes with its ups and downs because it is a lot to take in and doesn’t work for everyone. It has a very dramatic and children’s television style atmosphere, as if it’s an educational short of how the library can improve your motivation, vocabulary and more. It does also means that you’re wading into quite cheesy territory, which is a difficult thing to pull off in an extended period of time. There’s a slight touch of 2009’s Nativity about it.

It’s extremely creative, especially in diving straight into creating a full on musical with original content. However, it is trying to do a lot within a small amount of time and on a limited budget, so the set decorations and costumes have a more home-made feel, although the locations themselves include some great choices. It slightly limits the convincing nature of it, although it does have an independent spirit and is not trying to be something that it’s not. It’s trying to have fun with what it can achieve which goes to making up for those small issues.

There is a bit of a strange nature to the music and score, it doesn’t always feel fitting or perfectly in time with the rest of the film. However, the performances from the entire ensemble truly match that enthusiastic and imaginative nature. They pay homage to a lot of classic literature for a wide audience and do well to try and match the energy of each addition. It has a silly sense of humour and everything is lovingly positive and upbeat. Some of it reminds of the type of British television show you’d find in the 80s or 90s.

Between the Lines is a loving tribute to the importance of libraries and reading, bringing a huge amount of enthusiasm and positivity. It feels designed for a younger audience, reaching out to engage them and educate them on the value libraries hold. It delves into its love of literature by transporting its story from book to book, adapting itself each time both in setting and music. Not everything works, it can be somewhat saccharine and it’s stretching itself a little thin but it’s sweet and original.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

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