"Both Morrissey and Smith give stellar performance"

The 7:39, an adaptation of David Nicholls’ novel, played as a two-part drama on BBC One. A pleasant, easily watchable story, it doesn’t really break new ground, but is certainly worth a look simply for the brilliant cast.

Married Carl (David Morrissey) and engaged to be married Sally (Sheridan Smith) meet on a train, and after a minor spat over a seat, become friendly on their daily morning commute. But as they spend more time together, they begin to grow closer, until neither can deny that their friendship has turned in to something more.

Both Morrissey and Smith give stellar performances. Smith in particular has comfortably moved away from her ‘tart with a heart’ typecast, and gives a mature, measured performance. Smith and Morrissey have a real chemistry that develops cautiously at first, but is completely believable despite the unlikely scenario that unfolds.

Olivia Colman outshines them all however, and is exceptional as Carl’s betrayed wife. Sean Maguire, playing Sally’s fiancé is a little hammy, but given the banal character he’s been given, he most definitely deserves praise for trying. Director John Alexander really allows a lot of time for character exploration, and there’s a real sense that, Maguire aside, each character is given the screen time to allow the audience an emotional connection with them.

Whilst the film is certainly enjoyable, It’s a real shame to see such a great cast be let down by an unadventurous script. Given the source material, it’s easy to understand that developing anything slightly original would be no mean feat. The problem with exploring extra-marital affairs is that it’s one of the oldest stories in the book. The feelings of guilt, despair, boredom with home life, commitment issues - they’ve all been done to death, and with the film being shown on BBC One, any potential excitement to be gained from stolen kisses and passionate embraces is replaced with a lot of slow motion - and then more slow motion. The increasingly unlikely scenarios in which Carl and Sally find themselves able to carry out their betrayal is also hard not to scoff at.

Despite its predictability, the film is far from without merit. As well as the great cast, there is the odd tear-jerking moment, and a fair few laughs. If a complex, in-depth analysis of love and relationships is what you’re after, you’re not going to find it here, but what you will find is a light-hearted, enjoyable story that will occasionally make you shout at the TV.