Like mating moths, a handful of lonely Londoners' lives briefly touch and fly apart in this wistful ensemble drama, shot with digicams on the streets of the capital. It's only by slow degrees that the connections between them become apparent: the lovelorn Nadia (Our Friends in the North
's Gina McKee, heartbreaking here) is sister to hairdresser Debbie (Shirley Henderson) and hugely pregnant Molly (Molly Parker), while their parents (Jack Shepherd and Kika Markham) are barely on speaking terms with each other and are completely estranged from their son. Nadia longs for a boyfriend; Debbie's feckless, alcoholic ex-husband, played by the inveterate scene-larcenist Ian Hart, has let her and their young son Jack (Peter Marfleet) down once too often. Molly's bloke Eddie (perpetual adolescent John Simm) pathetically hides the fact he's lost his job by leaving the house each morning.
The handheld camera dances nimbly from story to story line, almost constituting another character in the drama but one who also pauses to watch the beauty of the metropolis distilled in a time-lapse smear of traffic or the wounded face of a passerby. This loose, improvisational feel is much more effective here than in the self-conscious pseudo-documentarism of director Michael Winterbottom's previous film, Welcome to Sarajevo. Made in 1999, Wonderland feels like his own version of the Dogma 95-aesthetic that so dominated that year, but with the aesthetic tricks the stern Danish formalist movement denied themselves. Michael Nyman's lush, contrapuntal score adds a soaring grandeur to this symphony of the ordinary. Bar his other collaboration with Nyman (The Claim), Wonderland is easily Winterbottom's best film in a prolific if patchy career so far, and in its way as great a film about the texture of the UK capital as Patrick Keiller's experimental masterpiece, London. --Leslie Felperin
Three sisters try to carve their own paths in life, whilst negotiating relationships between each other at the same time. Debbie (Shirley Henderson) has a hard time combining her thirst for nightlife with her responsibilities as a mother. Meanwhile, Nadia (Gina McKee) attempts to overcome her feelings of loneliness and isolation, whilst Molly (Molly Parker) awaits the birth of her first child.