Institute History


A forceful tale of illusive passion, Sunday chronicles one radiant day in the lives of two middle-aged people weighed down by the misery of their existence. Jonathan Nossiter has shaped a work suffused with subtlety, emotion, and a profound sorrow. Bittersweet and not shy of sentiment, Sunday mines the intricate relationship between desire and identity, reality and invention.

Having enjoyed and lost a middle-class family and middle-management livelihood, Oliver has spiraled into destitution and landed at a homeless shelter for men. A struggling British actress in the midst of separating from her American husband, Madeline has spent the better part of the last twenty years begrudging her failures and the torturous banality of her existence. On a cold and cheerless Sunday deep in the heart of Queens, Oliver and Madeline meet. Mistaking him for the acclaimed art-film director, Matthew Delacorta, Madeline throws herself at the unsuspecting Oliver.

Unaccustomed to friendly advances, particularly from a beautiful woman, the overweight and unkempt Oliver leaps at the prospect of reinventing himself, if only for one day. With an aching desperation and only a tenuous grip on reality, the “director” and his muse submerge themselves in one another, savoring their brittle fantasy as if it is a life-support system. Through their tender game of make believe, Oliver and Madeline live their Sunday as if it is the last day on earth—as if only in each other can they find a glimmer of hope and perhaps redemption.

At once gritty and lyrical, Sunday is a profoundly humane account of the frailty of human spirits strangled by life’s bitter ironies. With stellar performances by David Suchet (Oliver) and Lisa Harrow (Madeline) and sharp writing by Nossiter and James Lasdun, the memory of Sunday lingers hauntingly.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]