This Wednesday – Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool is refreshing and authentic, says David Vass

Loosely based on Peter Turner’s account of his love affair with faded movie star Gloria Grahame, Paul McGuigan’s unassuming film Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool recounts a quiet romance between a struggling young actor and a Hollywood actress, presenting the tragic trajectory of their relationship with dignity, care and good grace.

It’s refreshing that, for once, this May to October love story reverses the age gap, so that it is the glamour of the older woman that seduces the gauche young man. Annette Bening and Jamie Bell are completely convincing as the mismatched lovers – her starry eyed and actorly, he grounded and grumpy – and while they are backed by a strong British cast (watch out for Kenneth Cranham, Julie Walters, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber – all of them kitted out in 70s costume and wigs) this is absolutely a film focused on the two leads.

A humane and compassionate film, Matt Greenhalgh’s screenplay avoids the rich comedic possibilities of a movie star holed up in a scouse terrace, instead placing emphasis on the kindness of others. It may be a small story – of two people who loved and lost – but is all the more authentic and satisfying for it.

By David Vass