Benjamin (15)****

Dir: Simon Amstell

With: Colin Morgan, Anna Chancellor, Phénix Brossard

Runtime: 83 minutes

ANOTHER Ben, though this one is definitely the more formal Benjamin. Played by Royal Conservatoire boy and Humans star Colin Morgan, Benjamin is the kind of person who cares you get his name right because he fusses over every detail of himself, and his work as a filmmaker. With his second feature due to premiere at the London Film Festival, Benjamin is a bundle of nerves held together by a quiet but strong sense of his own superiority.

Benjamin, which had its premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival recently, is written and directed by Simon Amstell, who you may remember as the fiercely sardonic host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the kind who could make even normally tungsten showbiz types quake. Would there be any connection, do you think, between Simon and Benjamin? It seems so, but this is an altogether more gentle Amstell on display here, one who writes lines for the audience to laugh with the central character, and only occasionally at him.

Whether examining what went wrong with his last relationship, or fretting over his current one, this is film as therapy session, which might sound too horribly navel-gazing for its own good, but Amstell has written a genuinely funny script that oozes self-deprecating charm. The scene in which Mark Kermode reviews Benjamin’s movie live on air is squirm-inducingly on the money. The film is also an amusing look at modern mating rituals as friends get together, or fail to, and Amstell takes a gloriously savage glance at the performing arts scene in London besides.

The supporting characters are nicely drawn, with Anna Chancellor playing a desperately luvvie director, and Phenix Brossard as Noah, another skinny singer who Benjamin falls for far too quickly. By far the fairest of them all, though, is Morgan, whose gentle touch makes his character one to root for. Plus, it is only 83 minutes long, which ought to endear it to any film critic. Even Mark “Give that man an Oscar” Kermode.