Novel adaptation a bit of a let-down

Toni Collette as Maureen and Pierce Brosnan as Martin Sharp.
Toni Collette as Maureen and Pierce Brosnan as Martin Sharp.

Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, ‘A Long Way Down’ focuses on four disparate strangers, who form a bond when they meet on the roof of a notorious suicide spot - the fictional Toppers’ House in London - where they intend to take their lives.

There’s Maureen (Toni Collette), a sweet-natured mother who doesn’t feel like she’s doing a good job of looking after her severely disabled son, Matty; disgraced television presenter Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) whose career and life have gone down the pan after he slept with a girl who, unbeknown to him, was underage; American musician JJ (Aaron Paul) whose life has lost direction since his band split up and his girlfriend dumped him; and Jess (Imogen Poots), a teenage livewire spurned by her boyfriend and haunted by the disappearance of her older sister.

Rather than kill themselves on New Year’s Eve when they first meet, the quartet makes a pact to live until Valentine’s Day.

The newspapers get wind of the pact and make Jess, who is the daughter of an MP, and Martin front page news.

Jess decides to play the media at their own game, which results in the four acquaintances appearing on chat shows to discuss the pact and how they decided not to jump from the building when they saw an angel who looked like Matt Damon. When it comes out that they didn’t see an angel who looked like the Hollywood heartthrob, the public and press turn on the foursome.

Despite strong performances, the film feels higgledy-piggledy and there’s a noticeable rush to tie up loose ends in the final 15 minutes.