Lawless Heart, by U.K. writer-directors Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, is wee and doggedly life-affirming — very Lifetime for Gay Men and the Women Who Love Them. A fellow drowns in a boating accident off the Isle of Man, and while his near and dear mourn, we learn about the broken rules in their lives: The deceased’s lover, Nick (Tom Hollander), finds distraction in the kooky neediness of a local party girl (Sukie Smith), a brother-in-law (Bill Nighy, from ”Blow Dry”), married to the deceased’s sister, is flirted up by a local florist (Clementine Celarie), and so on.
The filmmakers reinforce their theme of ”lawlessness” by unraveling and then rebraiding the narrative to emphasize how one shared emotion, like grief, is actually a plaiting of individual, private longings. But the storytelling structure is far more interesting than the story itself. And the elegiac pictures of boats and water are, dismayingly, most engrossing of all.