Review: Desires and Delusions

Written and directed by Nicole Sarah Fry, who also stars in the film, and co-written by Anita Fry and Jasmine Fry. A Regency heiress in search of a husband can’t wait to use more modern dating methods and enlists her two close friends in an unconventional scheme. Also starring: Yasmine Meaden, Lottie Saul-Paterson, David Stokes and Emily Dickson.

The opening style of Desires and Delusions almost feels like you’ve dived into an episode of a British antiques or house hunting show, it has that feel of refined reality television. It creates a tone that’s graceful but playful, it’s keeping era appropriate but is flexible. There’s a strongly wholesome feel to its atmosphere, it has a charming lightness to it, bubbly and ultra feminine. Julian Butterworth‘s cinematography adds a quality reminiscent of classic, epic paintings it has a certain edge to the aesthetic which feels like art come to life.

If you’ve had any experience with dating apps then to a certain extent, you’re going to know exactly where Desires and Delusions is going. However, it speaks to the quality of the writing that it’s not an issue whatsoever. The pacing and patter of it are consistently entertaining, knowing where it’s headed only makes its destination more relatable. It’s a fantastic translation of modern themes to the regency era, especially considering match-making was alive and well at the time. It’s not that big of a stretch to imagine something along these lines did actually take place.

Yasmine Meaden, Lottie Saul-Paterson and Nicole Sarah Fry make for a great leading trio, there’s a wonderful chemistry and their friendship is undeniably convincing. They each create individual personalities to their characters, giving them a lot in common but plenty of ways in which they differ. Those differences also feel comfortingly familiar, Fry gives us the more socially conscious woman of that era, those looking for progression and equality. Meaden portrays the vapid type, smart but still living within the typical societal rules and looking for a wealthy, prestigious husband. Saul-Paterson then classically rounds out the trio with the faithful friend, the light-hearted optimist who’s a little bit of a yes-woman for Meaden’s Georgiana.

Desires and Delusions is a fun, entertaining translation of the modern dating experience into a period piece. It’s light and colourful, there’s a strong focus on creating an enjoyable and charming atmosphere, which it does well. The leading trio all give great performances and have a genuinely sweet feel to them. It gives you exactly what you’d expect from the synopsis, in a very satisfying way.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ | 8/10

Next to be seen at London Independent Film Festival on 19 April at Genesis Cinema

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