It's a good thing this project was in the steady hands of writer/director Mike Clarke and not in mine; otherwise, this story would have revolved around a husband who never found his keys and wallet again – end of the film. Instead, you get an insightful and thought-provoking movie that's racked up 27 awards. Twenty-seven awards so far - at the time this review was written. "A Light Through Coloured Glass" could very well go on to score many more, and I'd certainly bet on it to do so after watching it myself.
I thought this film came out incredibly strong from every angle; the characters are superb, the plotline is excellent, and the whole dimension of tension you feel in practically every scene worked brilliantly. From the direction to the acting, this is what you're looking for in a great drama, and it delivers a tangible potency - strong enough to sting your heart as you watch it. In many ways, "A Light Through Coloured Glass" is significantly devastating, but in that good way, we look for in the movies we watch; you identify with the emotions in a film like this because the characters and story are so vivid and real. Originally, you meet William onscreen, and you're not quite sure what to make of him, but you get the sense that he's struggling personally. A relatively reserved type of guy, he plays a church organ and seems to keep to himself mainly, but whenever he interacts with anyone, it's clear that he's the kind of person that has made a positive impact on the lives of others. They see he's struggling too, and we find out that this all revolves around his wife having left him without really providing William an explanation as to why the marriage was over - or giving him a fair enough chance to save it. After a random encounter in meeting Tina, who is obviously struggling herself in different ways, the two strike up an unlikely friendship that resonates powerfully onscreen. We're still determining how this will work at first; the church-going man meeting the potty-mouthed girl is a bizarre pairing to begin with, let alone the fact that they've each had major problems happening within the rest of their lives. As their friendship progresses, so does the appearance of responsibility to it – and this factor drives the key points of the plotline that will eventually hit us in the hardest heartstrings. "A Light Through Coloured Glass" examines what you would do for a stranger who has become a friend and has us watching intently, wondering about the strength of the bond between William and Tina.
Shout-outs are most certainly deserved here. The main characters were stunningly realized in this movie, with William Coulthard being played expertly by Kyle Brookes and Tina Shepherd brought to life brilliantly through the way Sophia Leanne Kelly portrayed her with such remarkable honesty. William's a great character, no doubt about that – but to be completely fair, a lot of his own struggles are much more hidden underneath the surface, so while we do see him battling against them, we're not always as enlightened as to what's driving him at any given moment. Kyle gives the performance that subtlety - the character needed, and still manages to communicate his confused emotions in a way that we can see them. On the other hand, Tina has just about every one of her own struggles broadcast to the world right in the sunlight with a life like an open book. Sophia brings strength to her endless vulnerability, which was absolutely incredible to watch. Essentially, Tina is always down, but she's never out. There's a hope that follows her character, and we feel it; we genuinely want her to be okay. The most pivotal plot point/twist comes through a drug dealer named Dan, played perfectly by Macaulay Cooper, who brings a sinister element to the story and the screen as we watch. We know he's bad news from the moment we meet him, and he certainly doesn't disappoint in that regard. His scenes with Tina are equally intense and scary, and every time he pops up, it's clear that her path to becoming who she could potentially be, gets more twisted.
There are many scenes in this film that I absolutely loved, but perhaps none more than the biggest breaking point between the two main characters, where William finally has to admit that a lot of his kindness was entirely based on selfishness. That's the subtlety I was referring to earlier – because we're "fairly" sure about his motivations but not entirely sure. We needed that moment where he has to come clean about who he is and what he's really about, and that whole scene delivers an extraordinary climax that this story deserved and worked hard to build towards. Relationships of any kind are complex and complicated, and "A Light Through Coloured Glass" really shows us that onscreen through Kyle and Sophia's powerful performances of William and Tina. All-in-all, I thought Mike Clarke did a sensational job on this film. If I was unsure of anything, it was probably in the one eight-month gap towards the end… I suppose I wasn't fully convinced that it was necessary or that we get enough details about what happened during that time, but it's also a very minimal part of the story and the main points "A Light Through Coloured Glass" attempts to make.
For the vast majority of this movie, any questions we have about the plot or its characters are resolved as the story unfolds, and their motivations become more apparent the more we get to know them - as they get to know each other. And that's perhaps the best compliment I can give to this film. The fact that we really do feel like we know Tina and William by the end of this story, every bit as much as we know the people in our own lives and consider our friends and family. Nothing was left out in that regard, and it made "A Light Through Coloured Glass" remarkable to watch, powerfully open and honest, and completely engaging from start to finish. I'm going with four well-deserved stars for the attention to detail put into this film, from Mike Clarke's writing and direction, and the truly exceptional acting of Brookes and Kelly.