When artistic choices go wrong. Emile, an attempt at a Proustian remembrance of a Canada past from the view of an exiled academic, is not unusually in using a wistful look to signal a flashback to echo memory. Ian McKellan as Emile, can be set off by almost anything: a manky old typewriter, playing with an engine or painting a wall. The artistic decision here though was to segue into the memory, to have it play off the previous scene. And thus it retains McKellan, doddery and old as the youthful version. A bold choice which does not really come off, especially considering the brothers with which he interacts in the past with are played by rather generic buff outdoorsy types who seem to bear no relation whatsoever with a character like McKellan. Perhaps that is the point, but McKellan’s English accent (picked up from forty years of exile) distances the whole thing, and he is not exactly putting in the effort.

When funding decision go wrong. Emile is a Canadian/UK co-production, one assumes based firmly on McKellan’s casting. Unfortunately his presence may guarantee funding, it also insists on the implausible English exile and torpedoes the film. And as the central character needs to be sorrowful but convinces as someone who was seriously neglectful of his responsibilities, McKellan is just too much of a twinkly uncle.