A Long Way Down
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPascal Chaumeil
Screenplay byJack Thorne
Based onA Long Way Down
by Nick Hornby
Produced byFinola Dwyer
Amanda Posey
CinematographyBen Davis
Edited byChris Gill
Barney Pilling
Music byDario Marianelli
DCM Productions
BBC Films
Wildgaze Films
HanWay Films
Film4 Productions
Distributed byLionsgate (United Kingdom)
DCM Film Distribution (Germany and Switzerland)[1]
Release dates
Running time
96 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Budget$22.7 million[2]
Box office$7.1 million[3]

A Long Way Down (originally titled Up & Down) is a 2014 black comedy film directed by Pascal Chaumeil, loosely based on author Nick Hornby's 2005 novel of the same name. It stars Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Aaron Paul as four strangers who meet on the roof of a London building on New Year's Eve, each with the intent of dying by suicide. Their plans for death in solitude are ruined when they meet as they decide to come down from the roof alive, however temporary that may be. The film received mostly negative reviews, with criticism of the source material and the film's cast.


Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) is contemplating suicide on New Year's Eve on the roof of the Toppers Building, high above London's streets. He is interrupted by a woman, Maureen (Toni Collette), who has the same fate in mind. She shyly offers to wait her turn, until two other strangers, a young woman named Jess (Imogen Poots) and a pizza deliverer called J.J. (Aaron Paul), also turn up.

Martin is recognised by the others, having been a popular television personality before going to prison for a relationship with a girl who turned out to be 15. After talking things over, the four strangers form a pact, vowing to wait at least until Valentine's Day before again attempting suicide.

Maureen has a disabled son she adores, but little life beyond that. Jess is the daughter of a politician (Sam Neill) and their relationship is strained. J.J. is an American who once played in a band, but while his three new acquaintances are suicidally depressed, he claims that he is terminally ill with cancer.

To profit from misfortune, Martin hatches a scheme that makes them the talk of London, claiming their mass suicide was interrupted by a vision. They end up on his old TV chat show, where Martin's former co-host Penny (Rosamund Pike) makes her guests feel humiliated and even more depressed.

The four go on vacation to get away from London's attention. They enjoy each other's company, until it is revealed that J.J.'s claim about cancer was a lie and the intervention of a journalist named Kathy (Tuppence Middleton) drives them apart. After the vacation, the four resume their lives. When Maureen's son Matty suffers a heart attack, Jess and Martin visit Maureen in the hospital but J.J. cannot be contacted. They realise it is Valentine's Day and that their pact has ended. All four end up back in London on the very same rooftop with the other three coaxing J.J. away from the edge successfully.

On New Year's Eve that year, they video call each other. Martin is looking after his daughter, Maureen is enjoying herself at a New Year's party, and J.J. and Jess are in a happy relationship.



Brosnan has stated that TV presenter Richard Madeley was an inspiration to him in playing the role. While reading the script for the film in the Colombe D'Or restaurant in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Brosnan stated that he saw Madeley and his wife Judy Finnigan and later said, "I think it's his sheer ebullience and enthusiasm. You have to be almost shamanic to do it, really, and really believe in yourself. And it's a thin line between being affable and being really annoying. So it takes a brave soul, really."[4]


The film premiered at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival on 10 February 2014.[5]


A Long Way Down received negative reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 22%, based on 50 reviews, with an average score of 4.2/10. The site's consensus reads, "Tonally jumbled and conceptually ill-advised, A Long Way Down bungles its source material and wastes a talented cast."[6] At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 34, based on 21 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7]

In 2015, the film won a Voice Award from the American Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.[8]


  1. ^ "Film #47053: A Long Way Down". Lumiere. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Pierce Brosnan filming in Mallorca for 'A Long Way Down'". Signature-estate.com. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  3. ^ "A Long Way Down (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Stateside success: Richard Madeley's the inspiration for Pierce Brosnan's new role". Best Daily. 19 March 2014. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Berlinale Special Gala" (in German). Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  6. ^ "A Long Way Down". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  7. ^ "A Long Way Down". Metacritic.
  8. ^ "Winners of the 2015 Voice Awards". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016.