"a delicate and melancholic tale of discovering a new identity and coming to terms with it"

Written and directed by Andrew Steggall, Departure is a film that is centred around a young man trying to come to terms with his own sexuality and a woman looking to find herself again after a tough divorce.

Set in the French countryside, the film starts with mother and son heading to their holiday home to pack all their belongings, after many summers spent in the South of France, Beatrice has to sell the country house. The place that hosted many good memories, now is useless because she is separating from her husband and such a big home is too difficult to maintain by herself. Beatrice and her son Elliot take the opportunity to stay one last time in the place that holds so many memories before having to clear the place and try to sell off all the furniture.

While she is cleaning and organising everything, Beatrice is overcome by nostalgia in remembering all the good times in her marriage. Packing everything away seems to give her a sense of closure with her past and her old self. In the midst of it all, Elliot is also going through an emotional journey, just like his mother. He is trying to explore his newfound sexuality. Through this complicated process, he starts to develop feelings for a french boy that lives in the village nearby. Not knowing if the other guy is attracted to boys as well, it challenges him to find out if the affection is mutual.

Being a movie centred on self discovery and a life journey towards change, Departure uses the cinematography to convey all the feelings of inadequacy and self-learning lived by the characters. Most of the shots are close ups on the two main actors to highlight their emotions throughout their experiences and to make the audience empathise with Beatrice and Elliot's struggles.

Along with the introspective shots, however, the camera also captures the landscape surrounding them. The French countryside becomes part of the story as well, interacting with the characters. For Elliot the country becomes an escape from his mother and a way to rediscover with different eyes all the places he knew from his childhood.

For Beatrice, it becomes another painful connection to her memories and what her life was before the divorce.
Both Juliet Stevenson and Alex Lawther give truthful and heartfelt performances. They both understand their characters completely and portrayed their flaws and vulnerability beautifully on the screen.

Elliot's sexual awakening is treated delicately throughout the film. It builds up quickly, but gradually. From the experimentation with his own body, looking at his new friend and finding him attractive and trying to fulfil his own desires, the character goes through a personal growth that culminates with a sort of rebirth at the end of the movie, when he finds the courage to dive in the stream close to his home.

For Beatrice the only way to cleanse herself and leave everything behind is to get rid of her past by slowly emptying her house. Her character at the beginning is resisting the process and is mourning all the good memories by finding excuses to not clear out her summer estate. But by the end, when acceptance finally comes in, she is able to free herself and start anew.

All in all, Departure is a delicate and melancholic tale of discovering a new identity and coming to terms with it completely. The title in this case is perfectly fitting because throughout the film the two main characters will learn to leave behind their past, just like a person will do after a journey to a foreign country.