“A film that should be considered great not just for its smart script or fine performances, but for the fact that it is one of the most convincing depictions of the British countryside in years... each scene demonstrates an electrifying confidence... the core of the grieving father-daughter relationship is heartfelt and completely devastating. Do not miss this” *****

Sam Gray, The Upcoming

“The flat, flooded plains of Somerset provide fertile soil for writer/director Hope Dickson Leach in this remarkably powerful tale of blighted farms and fractured families. Fulfilling the promise of such acclaimed shorts as The Dawn Chorus and Morning Echo, her quietly overwhelming feature debut addresses grand upheavals (personal, regional, economic) in deceptively understated and fiercely truthful fashion. Focusing on an estranged daughter’s return to her low-lying Levels home in the wake of a family tragedy, Dickson Leach conjures a postdiluvian rural Britain in which secrets, like bodies, refuse to stay buried. The director may cite the Dardenne brothers, Bruno Dumont and Kelly Reichardt as key influences, but it’s the robust heft of Andrew Kötting’s This Filthy Earth that sprang to mind as I waded into this emotional field a second time, having been unable to shake its rich, thematic mud from my feet after a first viewing.”*****

Mark Kermode, The Observer



“Hope Dickson Leach announces herself as the great white hope of British film with this quietly devastating debut... this is naked, unadorned filmmaking that’s only interested in hacking emotions back to the marrow and making everything that appears within the frame count. It’s invigorating to be in the presence of someone in such control of a film and who clearly cares deeply about what viewers see, hear and feel... expect Hope Dickson Leach to be snapped up by Hollywood in a heartbeat” *****

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“Hope Dickson Leach’s excellent debut feature The Levelling is a superbly shot and piercingly acted realist tragedy... toughly real images of milking and driving the cows are interspersed with brilliant, in fact, visionary moments... The Levelling stays with you like a remembered dream” ****

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Hope Dickson Leach’s feature directorial debut is startlingly assured. “The Levelling” is an intimate story, waterlogged with guilt, grief and blame, but it explores this dark spectrum with such unsentimental honesty that its tiny moments of uplift, when its repressed characters form tentative connections despite themselves, are magnified and moving. Unlike so many first-timers, Dickson Leach, who also wrote the script, never allows her reach to exceed her grasp: she sets boundary markers around the edges of her territory and doesn’t stray beyond them. Instead she gets her hands dirty, bedding down into these difficult, truculent characters and plunging us deep into the chilly loam of her mournful, atmospheric story”

Jessica Kiang, Variety



“The Levelling is exceptionally well-directed, relentless in its logic, and maintains a cool approach to a subject that could have been incendiary in another filmmaker's hands. Nevertheless, Dickson Leach ensures that the underlying emotions are carefully observed, released, and addressed. This is a small jewel of a film”

Piers Handling, CEO of TIFF

“A poised and highly promising first feature... the sensitivity of the performances, the attention to detail and economical storytelling all help to mark out Hope Dickson Leach as a talent to watch. The Levelling may not arrive with guns blazing and an attention grabbing bag of tricks but it has a calm assurance and brooding tension that are just as noteworthy”

Allan Hunter, Screen International

“One of the most impressive and assured first films we’ve seen in a long while, a wrenchingly moving, beautifully executed work... it isn’t just one of the best debut films of the year, but one of the year’s best films, period”

Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist