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Dark River

After her father dies, a young woman returns to her Yorkshire village for the first time in 15 years to claim the family farm she believes is hers.
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42

The Film Stage by

With such a simple approach to heavy subject matter, Barnard creates a distancing effect that reveals the feebleness of her screenplay and direction.
58

The A.V. Club by A.A. Dowd

Barnard, who made The Arbor and The Selfish Giant, has an impeccable sense of grubby pastoral space, and her performers locate some truth in cliché. But this is a kitchen-sink drag.
60

Empire by Andrew Lowry

This is a wilder, bigger thing than just another farmyard sink drama. There may be little you haven’t seen elsewhere, but there’s no denying the skill here.
80

CineVue by Daniel Green

The key here is the perfectly-cast Wilson, constantly swimming against the current of her own harrowing memories, often telling more in a single glance than her sporadic utterances to her similarly-broken brother ever could.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin

The dominant note is the warm but quotidian realism of Giant rather than the experimental daring of Arbor, yet Dark River yields a perceptive study of family dynamics, unfolding in a changing landscape as prey to economic forces and demographic shifts as any urban center.
58

The Playlist by Oliver Lyttelton

It’s still evidently the work of a very talented filmmaker and is certainly never bad, but it also never lives up to its potential. Barnard has a long career ahead of her, but Dark River seems destined to be remembered, years now, as a minor work in her filmography.
60

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Wilson and Stanley are both excellent performers and they are the mainstays of a valuable piece of work, but I felt the ending was contrived and a bit grandiloquent. However, the visual style and fluency of the film are obvious.
80

Total Film by Simon Kinnear

Rural life is familiar terrain for British cinema, but with Barnard as our guide, it remains an enthralling destination.

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