Anchor and Hope: new film set on London’s canals

Anchor & Hope film publicity shot

Anchor & Hope film publicity shot - Credit: n/a

A new romantic comedy set on London’s canals is coming out in July

Kat (played by Natalia Tena) and Eva (Oona Chaplin) are a thirtysomething couple living on widebeam boat Tipsy Otter among the London canals’ liveaboard community, in this far-from-mainstream romantic comedy film. Nothing interrupts their carefree existence – until the untimely demise of their cat, Chorizo. “We can get another cat”, suggests Kat, but when her Spanish friend Roger (David Verdaguer) arrives to stay, leading to a wildly alcoholic night on board, Eva reveals that she has other ideas. Nursing monstrous hangovers the next day, they discuss their drunkenly formulated plan to start a family: but yes, they’re an all-female couple, so this is where Roger comes in…

There’s plenty of humour but some serious issues too, as the film raises the subjects of surrogacy, adoption and complex relationships, and puts across the tensions that develop between the three of them (and potentially four in the future). And while it contrasts the manic modern life on London’s streets with the calm of the canal, it doesn’t pretend that boating is all idyllic – from mentions of continuous cruisers having to move on, and the challenges of raising a family afloat, to an Elsan-emptying scene that isn’t for the weak-stomached.

In fact all in all the film doesn’t pull any punches – whether it’s the strong language, scenes concerning the precise method of Roger’s contribution to Eva’s future motherhood, or the nature of the women’s relationship. But for the broad-minded (and we aren’t talking about boat widths here!) there are some laughs and some thought-provoking moments, all set against the background of the London canals. And if it sometimes isn’t quite your thing, well, you can always enjoy identifying the well-known waterways locations – we spotted Paddington Basin, Islington Tunnel, Mile End, and several places on the lower Lee Navigation, including, naturally, the waterside pub in Clapton which shares its name with the film.

Anchor and Hope is in UK cinemas from 20 July.