The Levelling is a film about family, redemption, guilt, whilst overcoming it all to pick up the pieces and survive. You know, like Sunday dinner with your parents. It's the sort of story that in the wrong hands could easily be melodramatic or over the top but in writer/director Hope Dickson Leach, it is assured and deft; devastating yet controlled.

Clover (Ellie Kendrick), in college studying to be a vet, must return home after the sudden death of her brother, Harry. She returns to a house ruined by flooding (read: the Somerset Levels flood crisis), a distant and distracted father, Aubrey, (David Troughton), and a farm on the brink of being shut down. A suicide is the last reason anyone wants to go home, but pile on everything else and it's almost unbearable.

One of the first things said by Clover is to a friend after he asks if there is anything he can do: "Could you make it my father instead of my brother?" And when Aubrey sees she's arrived he exclaims, genuinely surprised, "You came!" These two lines of dialogue tell us everything we need to know about their relationship and then some. Oof. Clover blames her father for Harry's death and she barely bothers to hide this from him. She's determined to get to the bottom of his suicide (or "accident," as her father insists on calling it) so that she can have more proof. It's a high horse from which she's soon and swiftly kicked.

Rural life, farm life, never stops—not even for a tragic suicide. There's always work to be done and Aubrey embodies this mentality perfectly, which initially infuriates Clover. It's an interesting juxtaposition against what death and tragedy naturally represents: a sudden stand-still, stagnant and unmoving. But the farm is struggling too and hadn't been the same since the flooding months prior. This pressure is evident in Aubrey and it slowly becomes clear that it was also weighing on Harry.

Death, particularly suicide, is not so much about the person who died but rather the people left behind. Clover tries to deny these feelings, insisting to a minister that she feels no guilt, that she wasn't even there. That in itself is something to feel guilty about, though. What if she had been there. Maybe then...

Leads Ellie Kendrick (who I didn't recognize in modern clothes, the curse of everyone who stars in Game of Thrones) and David Troughton are mesmerizing on screen. They navigate the story perfectly and often even without dialogue; the tensing of shoulders or pressing of lips conveys just as much as words would, but better. The cinematography, relying on the natural light and setting, only amplifies Kendrick and Troughton's on screen moments.

The Levelling understands grieving in a way that a lot of similar dramas miss completely. It's not always about big gestures or grand revelations. It's often those small, overlooked spaces in between.

THE LEVELLING, directed by Hope Dickson Leach, premiered on Friday 7 October at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival. Go here to learn more.