Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now

Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories

Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWe use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time.More infoThank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice

It was always going to be worth watching the late iconic actress Cloris Leachman in one of her final film roles.

However, is Jump, Darling an ideal vehicle for the screen star's talents?

Twentysomething struggling actor Russell (played by Thomas Duplessie) had decided to leave his relationship with his straight-laced boyfriend after the latter disapproved of his decision to perform as his drag alter-ego, Fishy Falters.

Escaping the relationship, Russell moves in with his ailing but sassy grandmother Margaret (Leachman), who herself is struggling increasingly with symptoms of dementia.

While she resists advice to move into a nursing home, Russell's arrival gives Margaret a place to age as she desires, whilst also giving him the room to be the Queer artist he deserves to be.

Yet, over time, both Russell and his grandmother have to face up to some harsh truths as they reach some emotional crossroads.

Jump, Darling is one of the many films at the BFI Flare Festival 2021
(Image: Courtesy of the BFI)

Read More
Related Articles

  • BFI Flare Festival 2021 preview: Exciting LGBTIQ+ stories and talent hitting our screens

Read More
Related Articles

  • My First Summer review: Lesbian teen love story is a 'sun-soaked tale of grief'

In his feature debut, writer-director Phil Connell brings a real personal touch to this sweet and sedate study of two characters each facing up to emotional truths at pivotal moments in their lives.

The vibrant Duplessie brings Russell to life as a character struggling with indecision but brimming with the desire to embrace his artistry and Queer identity, even when this clashes with romantic happiness.

Russell's attempts to find fresh happiness also run into roadblocks – including in the form of a charming bartender named Zachary, played by a beguiling Kwaku Adu-Poku.

The character is also wrestling with how his own journey mirrors his grandmother's, another artist whose talent's potential was left unfulfilled in her own youth and is now trying to take control of her life in her twilight years.

Cloris Leachman as Russell's salt-of-the-earth grandmother Margaret, who is struggling with dementia
(Image: Courtesy of the BFI)

Read More
Related Articles

  • Cloris Leachman dead: Oscar-winning actress dies aged 94 as her son pays loving tribute

The always magnetic Leachman is sardonic yet grave, easy but withdrawn as the ailing Margaret and shares a subtle chemistry on-screen with Duplessie.

Yet she is an interesting figure in her own right in the film and offers shades to a character that perhaps is not the easiest on the page, managing to steal many scenes.

The power of musical expression is also evident in the film, with some needle-drops (see: Robyn, Years & Years) evoking a sense of liberation in times of struggle.

It is not the most ground-breaking of cinema and there's clear room for some more defined elements, perhaps with unlocking Margaret's own past and the motivations of Zachary with Russell.

Twentysomething struggling actor Russell (played by Thomas Duplessie) embraces his role as Fishy Falters
(Image: Courtesy of the BFI)

Read More
Related Articles

  • Zack Snyder's Justice League review: 'DC Comics epic will be a delight for fans'

Yet, what is clear is the sense of family dynamic and Russell's own trepidation but powerful focus to show who he is with confidence – and embrace that publicly in what feels like an authentic Queer space.

Some of the final scenes are certainly near to tear-jerking and give a strong denouement to the personal revelations present.

Ultimately, Jump, Darling is a strong debut for Phil Connell that gives Cloris Leachman a chance to show her on-screen magic in her final years as a cinematic talent.


Even where it may be somewhat too slight, Jump, Darling is a touching and intimate drama that also proves to be a powerful swan song for the legendary Cloris Leachman.

*Jump, Darling was shown as part of the Bodies strand at the BFI Flare London Film Festival 2021 which celebrates LGBTIQ+ cinema.

What is your favourite Cloris Leachman film? Let us know in the comments below.