Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go
Mulberry Bush is a boarding school in Oxford that caters for children who have been excluded from regular schools and who suffer from severe emotional trauma. The staff have to endure daily confrontations, a great deal of spitting and swearing from their charges, and valiantly attempt to change the violent and self-destructive patterns of behaviour.
Kim Longinotto (The Day I Will Never Forget, Sisters in Law) draws some fascinating characters and stories from the chaos in the classrooms. With a perfected observational style she captures the humanity of the pupils, their families and the teachers superbly, and, though it is a revealing and moving study, the film is not completely without humour.
As badly behaved as the kids are, it’s to the film’s credit that the viewer never loses empathy with them. Their relationships with their parents are very telling, while the teachers, skilled, dedicated and impossibly patient, appear positively heroic. [bfi]