The Possibilities Are Endless (12)

Directed by James Hall and Richard Lovelace
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 7th November 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a personal and at times poetic tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in face of adversity.

At the height of his fame Edwyn Collins, singer of Scottish pop band Orange Juice, suffered a double stroke, which left him able to utter only four words, "Yes" "No" "Grace Maxwell" (the name of his wife) and "The possibilities are endless".

He used the last phrase ad infinitum, to the point where Grace felt it was less than profound after hearing it so often.

The opening segments of the film are dream-like, including majestic nature photography and shots of being submerged in water, perhaps resembling the feeling of helplessness and being all asunder after being struck down by a stroke.

It also includes location shots of the small town, Helmsdale, on the east coast of Scotland, he lived in as a child. He still resides there as well living in London.

Collins slowly regained his ability to speak, to a certain extent, for example, by singing his old songs and meeting up with musicians he used to know.

Grace is viewed in the film - sometimes you feel she and Edwyn are performing together in front of the camera - as a muse, a rock. But he does not seem to fully appreciate her utter dedication in looking after him. He questions Grace - who is there with him 24/7 - as to what she has got to complain about, when she is peeved about something or other.

Grace is openly honest about what she misses since he had his life-changing illness, "Having sex with him."

I got a bit confused at times as to the point of actors playing Collins and Grace as youngsters. These segments of the film came across as a tad contrived.

The Possibilities Are Endless illustrates starkly how transitory life can be, and a reminder that we should, if possible, try to live life to the full every day.

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