Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken is a sad, painful, self-conscious vignette of a film with forthright performances; it’s a chamber piece in many ways, but with bold flashback excursions that come close to causing its emotional engine to overheat.

Javier Bardem plays Leo, a writer in New York who has suffered a stroke and now lives, by choice, in a grim single room, attended by a carer, Xenia (Branka Katic). The only person who still appears to love him is his daughter, Molly (Elle Fanning), who one chaotic day has to take him to the dentist and optician, while dealing (via her cellphone) with a stressful work situation.