Aafter his devastatingly arresting death trilogy ( Gerry, Elephant, Last Days), Gus Van Sant takes a gentler look at the flipside of life with Restless. From the pen of first-time screenwriter Jason Lew, this poignant love story stars Australian Mia Wasikowska and newcomer Henry Hopper (son of Dennis) as a pair of outsiders drawn together by their shared fascination with death.

After meeting gate-crashing a funeral, Enoch and Annabel quickly become inseparable, whiling their days away deep in wilfully alternative conversations, while gadding about in an array of over-styled vintage outfits. But each has a sobering secret, and as their love burgeons amid the spectre of death, their fresh-faced youth becomes a potent reminder to embrace the time we have left.

Sweet but slight, Restlessfrustratingly feels like minor Van Sant. Though Wasikowska shines and Hopper makes a strong debut, Danny Elfman’s rather twee score does them no favours, nor does the screenplay’s more obvious notes on death and dying. Enoch’s imaginary friend – a WWII Kamikaze pilot (Ryo Kase) – is curiously saddled with the emotional heavy lifting, which ultimately prevents this tale from tugging much at the heartstrings.