After Ricky Gervais’ last co-written, co-directed and co-stared feature, The Invention of Lying, you would be forgiven for being a little skeptical about this latest offering. However, Cemetery Junction is an enjoyable picture, combining an adequate amount of laughs with a genuine emotional depth.
Freddie Taylor is the son of a factory worker, living in the dead-end town Cemetery Junction in the early 1970s. Wishing to make more of his life, Freddie thinks working for a big insurance company will help achieve his goal of leaving his old life behind. But things rarely work out as simple as this…
Christian Cooke is bright as the protagonist Freddie; his blossoming friendship with Julie (played by Felicity Jones) is a delight to watch. Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan are all believable in their roles. The star turn, however, is delivered by Emily Watson, who gives an understated yet strong performance as Mrs Kendrick.
The relationship between Freddie and his friends Bruce and Stork seems very natural. The film is well written; the dialogue and circumstances appear very believable. Gervais and Merchant have succeeded in producing a well-crafted drama with a sufficient amount of comic relief. Aesthetically, the film seems authentic with its depiction of a small British town in the 1970s; the soundtrack is bursting with hits of that decade.
Ricky Gervais has a role in Cemetery Junction, but given his reputation for playing very similar characters, it is thankfully small. Overall, the film should strike a chord with audiences all too familiar with the small-town mentality; the theme is broad enough to be identifiable where ever in the world you watch it.