While the British film industry is with no doubt growing, some areas still lag behind. Welsh and Scottish representation instantly come to mind: two key nations within modern Britain that are rarely reflected in its cinematic output. Translations, the debut feature from director Keith Kopp, sets out to reverse that trend. In so doing, it’s a heartfelt and mature romantic drama that foregrounds its characters and lets the performances do the heavy lifting.

This two-hander focuses primarily on two characters: the agoraphobic translator Stef (Kate Morgan-Jones) and her deceased brother’s best friend, Evan (Alan Emrys). Traumatised by the loss of her brother and haunted by an accident that led to her exile from society, Stef never leaves the house, but allows Evan in after he returns from a five-year absence. What follows is a tender courtship as they each realise their respective issues, falling for one another as they learn to grow and heal.

In many ways, Translations is an ode to healing. The film explores the practicalities of suffering with agoraphobia, tying thematically to the isolation Stef feels from the outside world, and her reservations in trying to do anything about it. In some ways, Evan is her remedy, gently encouraging her to do what she initially thinks impossible: reconnecting back with society. But he himself isn’t without trauma: we hear about abuse as a child, and the pain he harbours after witnessing his best friend die abroad. Neither characters are whole, and there’s an element of them coming together for this brief love affair that helps them rediscover what they’ve lost along the way.

But Translations isn’t a traditional romantic drama, with a far more realistic outlook on relationships. Characters mess up, fly off the handle, and struggle to get the conclusions they desire. It’s anchored by two fantastic lead performances, especially from Kate Morgan-Jones, who imbues Stef with such vulnerability and hurt. Towards the final act she takes precedence as the film’s main character, by which point you’re fully invested in her road to recovery and the reclamation of her life. That’s in no small part also thanks to the direction, which gives the leads plenty of room to non-verbally express their characters, with a presumed healthy dose of dialogical improvisation in here, too.

Stylistically, Translations evokes the memory of Malcolm & Marie and Call Me By Your Name. The film is entirely shot in black-and-white, which gives it a general sense of timelessness, even if the stunning Welsh landscapes would’ve looked even richer in full colour. Speak of which, it’s delightful to hear vast swathes of dialogue entirely in Welsh – just representation for a side of Britain rarely seen outside of Wales itself.

Translations is a raw British romantic drama in the same vein as Ali & Ava, charting a romance that isn’t perfect, isn’t always equal, but is unerringly human. It’s tender and driven by emotion, and taps into a veneer of British and Welsh culture rarely explored on the big screen.