HELP is the riveting story of a struggling young woman, Sarah, played by Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), who is smart, but has never fit in, not in education and not in work. Her family told her she’d never amount to anything but she unexpectedly finds her calling as a carer at Bright Sky Homes. Sarah has a special talent for connecting with the residents, including one in particular, 47-year-old Tony, played by Stephen Graham (Boiling Point). Tony’s Young Onset Alzheimer’s has left him living out his days in care as his mind slowly deteriorates. His illness causes periods of confusion and violent outbursts, which the other members of staff can’t handle, but with Sarah he begins to build a real bond. Sarah’s success at managing Tony and the other patients helps build her confidence and restore her self-belief. Then March 2020 hits and everything Sarah has achieved is thrown into doubt with the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic. She and her colleagues tirelessly fight tooth and nail, ill-equipped, poorly prepared, and seemingly left helpless by the powers that be. A determined Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect those in her care, whose conditions make their suffering and isolation all the more traumatic. But the staff’s unwavering commitment, compassion and heroic efforts can only do so much, and Sarah is pushed into a dark corner and desperately looks for a way out. Director Marc Munden stops by to talk about working with the HELP writer Jack Thorne on this and other projects, enlisting a superb cast of gifted actors, led by Jodie Comer, Stephen Graham, Ian Hart and Cathy Tyson, to tell a timely and timeless story of compassion and finding the courage to face down the deadly chaos of an unfathomable pandemic and institutional neglect.
About the filmmaker – Marc Munden has directed several television series, particularly for the BBC. Most recently he wrote and directed the BBC production Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart (2006). He also directed the BAFTA nominated Conviction (2004), and the award-winning Vanity Fair (1998). Munden made his feature film debut in 2002 with Miranda, starring Christina Ricci. National Treasure (2016) is a four part serial drama that Munden directed, which was commissioned by the English Channel 4. Filmography includes: Christmas (1996, TV), Touching Evil (1997, TV, co-dir), Vanity Fair (1998, TV), The Secret World of Michael Fry (2000, TV), Miranda (2002), The Knight’s Tale (2003, TV), Conviction (2004, TV, co-dir), Shiny Shiny Bright New Hole in My Heart (2006, TV), The Mark of Cain (2007)
100% on Rotten Tomatoes
“Forget the grand gestures; Help’s at its best when it trusts its cast with the little unremembered acts of kindness and love that endured despite it all. With this subject matter, Graham and Comer are all the assistance you need.” – Ed Cumming, Independent (UK)
“Comer and Graham remain faultless to the end, and the first hour is a fine addition to the wealth of pandemic testimonies that can and must be entered into the record in any way they can be.” – Lucy Mangan, Guardian
“The centrepiece was a virtuoso piece of directing from Marc Munden that followed Sarah over one hellish night shift. It is shot in the style of a horror film, as one continuous take. – Anita Singh, Daily Telegraph (UK)