If you can get over its slightly far-fetched storyline, there's a lot of heart in Crush
. Three longstanding friends--Kate, the American headmistress (Andie MacDowell), Janine the police inspector (Imelda Staunton) and Molly, an acerbic, thrice-divorced GP (Anna Chancellor)--meet up each week to drown their sorrows with gin and cigarettes, with a prize box of caramels for the one who can report the most disastrous love life. It's this failure with men that has cemented their friendship, for in all other respects they're very different personalities. The cracks begin to show when Kate has a fling, developing into a love affair, with an ex-student 15 years her junior. When she announces that she's going to marry the sensitive and sexy Jed (fresh-faced Kenny Doughty, of whom we'll undoubtedly be seeing more), Molly and Janine are determined to put a stop to such foolishness.
We soon discover that, for all their raunchy talk, they're hidebound by convention, shocked by the difference in age and status and fuelled by jealousy. Their actions spark off a disastrous chain of events that give a vital grittiness to the film. Visually, it's a bit like stepping into a Trollope novel (Joanna, not Anthony), all Cotswold stone, clergy and quaint streets. But the strong dialogue and the conviction of performances from the three main characters (cast to excellent effect) make Crush a deeply absorbing, bittersweet film.
On the DVD: Crush is a good DVD package: not only do we have sharp sound and well-defined colour that brings out the best of the picturesque setting, but the extras are well put together. As well as theatrical trailer and scene selections, there's 25 minutes' worth of interviews with cast and director, a behind-the-scenes feature, a brief but riveting deleted scene, a featurette on the storyline, and the option to watch the film with or without the director's commentary, which is very enlightening. There are also details of other Film Four releases. --Harriet Smith
Headmistress Kate (Andie MacDowell), police officer Janine (Imelda Staunton), and medical doctor Molly (Anna Chancellor) all live in the same English village and meet regularly for dinner. However, their friendship is thrown into disarray when Kate starts dating Jed (Kenny Doughty), one of her former pupils. Janine and Molly both do their best to sabotage the relationship, but events quickly get out of control.