The events of September 11th 2001 shook the entire world. On July 7th 2007 (or as its become known “7/7”), the UK had its very own catastrophic event of the same nature that, although was not as big in scale as 9/11, was nonetheless a traumatic event both for those directly involved and those watching the events on the news.
London River was made just two short years after the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005 and many (including the film's lead, Brenda Blenthyn) would hold the opinion that it was too soon to make any sort of movie, fact or fiction, exploring what happened.
However, if you give the film a chance you'll soon realise that it's not necessarily about the bombings but rather that only acts a mere catalyst for the events, or rather reactions, that follow.
We particularly follow Brenda Blethyn's Elisabeth Sommers, an average English woman who is frantically searching for her daughter who has been missing ever since the bombings. She travels to the city to where her daughter stayed and follows any and call clues she has as to where her daughter is, trying to find out if her disappearance is coincidental to the recent tragedy or if she was one of the unfortunate victims. Along the way she meets Mr. Ousmane, an old African man who is looking for his missing son. The two of them discover they have more in common than they first thought.
It would have been very easy for writer/director Rachid Bouchaerb to make a film that was exploitative of the bombings themselves. But that really takes a back-burner as the film focuses very smartly on the relationship that develops between Elisabeth and Ousmane. They are two completely different people, everything from how they look to their religion is completely contradictory. However, through the search for their children (who are fully grown, but in a time like that they revert back to the children of their respective parents) they, and we as the audience, come to realize they have quite a lot in common.