Gideon’s Daughter

Emily as: Natasha
Genre(s): Drama
Written by: Stephen Poliakoff
Directed by: Stephen Poliakoff
Other Cast: Bill Nighy, Miranda Richardson, Tom Hardy, Robert Lindsay
Release Date: February 26, 2006
Production Budget:
Total Worldwide Gross:
Filming Locations: London, England, UK and Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

It is 1997 and Gideon (Bill Nighy), an elegant leading PR consultant, a man constantly feted by the rich and famous, is earnestly courted by the New Labour government to manage the festivities around the Millennium.

Just as the British public unite to express unprecedented levels of collective grief following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Gideon turns inwards and very quietly unwinds as he struggles with his private sense of loss and emptiness.

Increasingly, he finds the hollowness of high-profile public life is exposed by his relationships with his daughter, Natasha (Emily Blunt) who is on the brink of leaving home for university, and Stella (Miranda Richardson), a woman grieving for the loss of her young son in a cycling accident.

Has the time come when they must all stop and learn to live again?

Character Quotes

  • Georges Simenon was a French writer, a famous writer of police stories. He created this great detective and slept with hundreds and hundreds of women. Maybe 2000 women if we are to believe the man himself. Now, his daughter, Marie-Jo, felt an extraordinary, unnaturally strong love for him, for her dad. Obsessive love. And in the end, she killed herself at the age of 25. So this is a song about that. Oh, the title, it’s just called Papa.
  • It’s just a song, Dad.
  • I still want to go. But I know that if I go, I’ll never hear the end of it. And, of course, you won’t give me any money. So, at the moment, I’m thinking I can’t go to South America. If I go to Edinburgh, I will not be staying in halls of residence! It’s gonna be somewhere else.
  • I hate fancy dress parties, and “come dressed as a ’50s character” is really difficult.
  • I didn’t want you in my thoughts. Anywhere near me, really. I didn’t want to hear your voice or get your letters. But now I think that that’s over. Wherever you are, wherever I am, I won’t let that happen again.
  • Gideon: Is this a serious idea? The South American jungle?
    Natasha: Sure. Absolutely.
    Gideon: The first I’ve heard about it.
    Natasha: I know. It’s not arranged yet. When it was more definite, I was going to mention it.
    Gideon: So it’s not definite?
    Natasha: If I get the A grades I need, which I won’t, then I might go to Edinburgh. But I want to do this.
  • Gideon: Are you going to tell me your A-level results? For Christ’s sake, it has been days! No other parent doesn’t know his daughter’s A-level results!
    Natasha: I got three A’s.
    Gideon: That’s terrific! That’s fantastic, darling.
    Natasha: I’m still going. To the jungle.
    Gideon: Which is where?
    Natasha: It’s where the scheme is, which is in Colombia.
    Gideon: Colombia? Jesus, Natasha, that is the most dangerous country in the world!
    Natasha: I will be with people.
    Gideon: Of course you will be with people!
    Natasha: Don’t push me, Dad.
  • Gideon: You look wonderful. Absolutely sensational.
    Natasha: Good.
    Gideon: I should find a movie premiere to go to. The celebrities would be clamouring to meet you.
    Natasha: I don’t want to go to any of those ever again.
  • Quoting: Emily Blunt

    On relating to her character: I can relate to how delicate that father-daughter relationship can be. Between the ages of 14 and 16, I went through a patch where I decided not to be nice to my parents. I was not fun to be around. But my parents never abandoned me; they stuck by me even when I was being vile! My relationship with them is great now. But I’ve had friends who had difficult times with their parents, and still harbour anger and an inability to forgive or move on. I never went through that, but I can empathise with it.

    On Natasha and Gideon’s relationship: She’s someone who appears externally calm, but in fact on the inside she is angry, hurt, bereaved and unable to forgive her father for not being there both during her upbringing and at her mother’s death. That’s true for a lot of girls and their fathers. The fathers are so often left in the dark about their daughters’ feelings as they’re growing up. Then suddenly the daughters hit 16, and all these unspoken rules apply. Almost overnight, the father must learn to let the child go and allow her her independence. That certainly applies to Gideon and Natasha. He doesn’t get her at all. She has slowly but surely drifted away from him because he has been totally focused on his quest for success at work. That’s the case so often these days: parents miss their children growing up because it’s so hard to remember what’s really important. We’re constantly bombarded with the need to succeed professionally and that’s what’s happened between Natasha and Gideon. She was utterly bereft, and he just was not there for her. There have been a lot of women in his life, but all along he has not been paying attention to the one woman who mattered: his daughter. Natasha then sets about getting her revenge on her father, not in a violent way, but by breaking his heart. In a way, it’s a cry for help, but that sort of steely indifference that so many teenagers adopt so well expertly covers it. It’s frightening for a parent when a child seems so remote and untouchable. It’s not the normal shouting and rowing between a father and a daughter. This conflict goes a lot deeper than that.

    On working with Bill Nighy: I love Bill! I laughed so much with him; he’s a wonderful friend. He’s effortless to work with. He is completely without arrogance, and that comes across in the total sincerity of his work. He’s a gentleman of the business. With Bill, everything is beautifully placed, nothing is overdone.

    On working with Stephen Poliakoff: He’s a genuine actors’ director. He knows exactly the right note to give you, and you always think, ‘Oh my God, that’s it!’ He’s also acutely aware of what he needs to do. He knows every single beat of the film before he even starts shooting. With Stephen, you feel like you’re entering a different dimension. He sees the world in a very different light. He views everything in a much more poetic way and uses images you’d never see in a more run-of-the-mill drama. You might call it a kind of heightened realism, but the most important thing is that it all rings absolutely true.

    Critical Response

    Kathryn Flett, The Guardian: Miranda Richardson as Stella, a bereaved mother (and, in a typically Poliakoffian touch, hands-on guinea pig lover) who stumbles into Gideon’s life and affections, and Emily Blunt as his coolly beautiful, semi-estranged daughter, Natasha, struck the right note between the awkward actorlinesses their director seems to encourage and some halfway plausible characterisations, even during the numerous plodding non sequiturs and plot cul-de-sacs.

    Awards and Nominations

    Below is a list of all accolades Emily has received for her role in the film.

    WON: Golden Globes – Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television