Skip to main content

“They were already in trouble… then she turned up”: A Review of ‘The Trouble with Jessica’

by Tia Janowski

Content warning 


A dinner party between old friends takes a dark and twisted turn when an uninvited guest, Jessica, takes her own life in Matt Winn’s newest film, The Trouble with Jessica. 



In the glitzy backdrop of a luxurious London home, a seemingly perfect dinner party among best friends takes a macabre turn. What ensues is a tale of dark British humour that weaves through the chaos triggered by an uninvited guest’s shocking suicide in their garden. The story draws inspiration from the classic Hitchcock film, The Trouble with Harry, with a dark, comedic twist. 


Written by James Handel and director, Matt Winn, the pair have created a perfect depiction of a friend group with clashing morals as they make a series of choices that could either save them or destroy everything they’ve worked hard for. 



Shirley Henderson and Alan Tudyk shine as Sarah and Tom, a married couple who are selling their house to get themselves out of serious financial trouble. 


Hosting a final dinner party with their best friends, Beth, played by Olivia Williams, and Richard, played by Rufus Sewell, an old friend, Jessica, played by Indira Varma, arrives uninvited and this is where the major conflict begins. 


The evening takes a tragic turn when an argument leads to Jessica's suicide in the couple's garden, days before their house sale. As Tom goes to call the police, Sarah realises that this will destroy their sale and the couple will be in financial ruin. Convincing Tom and the group to move Jessica’s body to her flat and stage the suicide there, the movie follows the conflicts they face along the way. 


Following the initial set-up, we see the movie divided into sections with witty title screens that state the next conflict the friends face in their plan. This brings out the dark humour of the movie without having comedic aspects taking away from the plot. 



While the movie is only 90 minutes long, the story didn’t feel rushed but instead like the perfect escape from reality. The beginning of the movie constructs the set-up incredibly well, showing us exactly where the tension lies in the friendship group and the events that led to Jessica’s shocking demise. 


Each of the four main actors injects raw emotion to show the conflict between the friend group and their different morals as secrets are revealed. The selection of Henderson and Tudyk was spot-on as they flawlessly brought the dry humour to life. Henderson plays Sarah extremely well, with a strong consistency in her belief that moving Jessica is the best plan for everyone. Throughout the movie, we constantly see how Sarah is only thinking of herself, ignoring her friends’ pleas not to be involved. 



Being a dark British comedy that relies on dry humour, The Trouble With Jessica is cunningly written to ensure it doesn’t brush over the seriousness of the situation. It delves into the true consequences of suicide, unravelling the diverse ways that it impacts people and their perceptions of a situation. 


The interruptions and conflicts in their planadd amusement without diminishing the seriousness of the situation. When Sarah says “Why couldn’t she have killed herself in her own garden?”


When expressing how much trouble this will bring the couple, Richard hilariously replies with “She doesn’t have a garden” - a perfect example of the brilliant writing throughout the 90 minutes and lines like this bring a breath of fresh air to such a heavy topic. 



The Trouble with Jessica perfectly brings to life the struggles of a couple grappling with financial issues, injecting a bizarre twist that reverberates through the lives of everyone involved. With its compelling plot and sharp writing, the film is an excellent exploration of real-world issues, using dark humour as its guiding light. 

 

Edited by Emily Duff

Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Now What? The Aftermath of the 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl'

by Susan Moore Here is a bit about me: I am an open, excitable, creative AFAB who is also moderately attractive. I have a unique sense of personal style and a personality that on the surface can only be described as “bubbly” and “quirky”. For this reason, dating is a nightmare. To be sure, I do not have a hard time finding dates or potential suitors. The problems arise when said dates spend some time with me and decide that I am a rare specimen, and the connection they feel with me is “unlike anything they have felt before”. Then, things go one of two ways.  Either a) they decide I am too high maintenance and no longer palatable, or  b) they choose to never look further than the surface and are content to date the idea of me rather than the real me. There is something rather interesting, perhaps funny, about my situation. It is in no way unique. I have met so many people who constantly dealt with the same problem. Even funnier still, is the fact that there is a trope that simultaneousl

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18