‘Ray & Liz’ Film Review: Richard Billingham Documents the Slow Disintegration of a Dysfunctional Family

‘Ray & Liz’ Film Review: Richard Billingham Documents the Slow Disintegration of a Dysfunctional Family
The first person we meet in “Ray & Liz” is elderly Ray (Patrick Romer). Alone in a tiny room, abandoned by his wife Liz (Deirdre Kelly), he has taken to his bed seemingly permanently, waking only long enough to drink as much as it takes to keep himself drunk. He keeps a photo of himself as a young man with his bride stuck to a mirror next to a religious pamphlet that delivers the only foreshadowing this film feels like giving: a Bible verse instructing children to “obey [their] parents in everything.”

Ray & Liz,” Richard Billingham’s debut feature, punctuates its main action with visits to this room, with the rest of the quietly downcast story taking place during the 1980s, as Ray and Liz descend into poverty, despair, and alcoholism in a council flat outside of Birmingham, England. Their children — Richard and his younger brother Jason — are along for the ride,
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