The Arbor

Director: Clio Barnard
Year Released: 2010
Rating: 1.5

Insufferably grim (and frankly tedious) depiction of the brief life of late British playwright Andrea Dunbar and the struggle with addiction and self-harming behavior of her daughter, Lorraine. Features the 'gimmick' of having hired actors 'lip-sync' testimony from the actual people involved in Dunbar's life which is 'supposed' to have the added effect of making some sort of deep statement about the difference between 'truth' and 'fiction,' but merely seems like a theatrical tactic, and doesn't add much resonance to what's essentially a story about bad motherhood and substance abuse and child neglect. The inserted scenes of actors performing some of Dunbar's actual material - though awkwardly placed - are considerably more lively (and lovely) than the faux-documentary pieces - director Barnard is more interested by the sensationalism of Andrea's and Lorraine's lives than Andrea's strengths as a writer.