It Snows in Benidorm  (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Isabel Coixet, Spain/UK, 2020, 117 mins

Cast:  Timothy Spall, Sarita Choudhury

Review by Carol Allen

It Snows in Benidorm starts out promisingly in that it has Timothy Spall playing the sort of ordinary man he can make extraordinarily fascinating. 

Peter works in a bank but he’s too decent, too kind and understanding of his clients’ financial problems to suit today’s harsh world and is forced into early retirement by his boss.  A neat and tidy man of routine, whose hobby is meteorology, he finds himself at an uncomfortable loose end, so decides to visit his brother Daniel, an expat in Benidorm, with whom he has had little contact for years.

But when he arrives there, his brother fails to meet him at the airport as arranged. His apartment is deserted, no-one knows where Daniel has gone.  So far so intriguing. 

Peter wanders round Benidorm not finding out much more and a few days later wakes from a nap to find the glamorous Alex (Sarita Choudhury) in the apartment.   Turns out she manages a nightclub which Daniel owns and where she does an exotic and rather weird sexy dance routine.  And this is where the film starts to fall apart.

Through Alex and a supposedly helpful police officer (Carmen Machi) he discovers a bit about Daniel’s dodgy Benidorm underworld connections.  He also loses his virginity to Alex – thankfully handled with appropriate discretion for a man of his years.  And the story meanders on along an inconclusive road, where we never really find out anything more.

Spall just about holds it together, Choudhury never really gets to grips with her elusive character and we never get to meet Daniel. 

The Brits behaving badly in Benidorm sometimes give the film a bit of a lift and yes, it does eventually snow there.   Which I guess satisfies Peter’s meteorological interests if not the audience’s desire for some sort of story resolution.