Gemma Arterton is a very special actress and she solidly anchors “The Escape” in the role of Tara, an overburdened housewife in suburban London. The film has been written and directed by Dominic Savage with an eye for zeroing in realistically on what it means to be a woman in that situation.

Life has become a bore and a chore for Tara, who is a mother of two and charged with looking after them and the household. The problem, including lack of fulfillment sexually, is compounded by total absence of understanding by her husband, played by Dominic Cooper, a hard-working chap who has trouble dealing with his own life.

Arterton enables us to see the deep frustration Tara endures, even though she is not a complainer as she goes about her daily routine. We feel for her and wonder what her breaking point might be.

One day she takes a bold decision and leaves secretly on a trip to Paris in hope of gaining a new self-fulfilling experience. Can she really leave her family behind so spontaneously? Paris beckons with the possibility of new adventures, and at first there is an air of liberation.

The gambit, of course, shocks her husband as well as fills him with concern for her. Where will Tara’s rebellion lead?

The problem is that for all of the momentary escape, there is nothing that can substantially change the life that has led her to such desperation. On the one hand, there is the excitement we feel for Tara’s breakaway. On the other is the realization that escape is not just a matter of buying a ticket to Paris. Through it all is Arterton giving a remarkable, sensitive and touching performance . An IFC Films release. Reviewed May 11, 2018.

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