Marital separation is always a hard-hitting subject matter, particularly when there are children involved.

It's precisely the premise upon which How To Stop A Recurring Dream, the debut feature from British filmmaker Ed Morris, is built.

Starring Bridgerton actress Ruby Barker as Yakira, the oldest of two sisters caught in the midst of their parents' gritty separation, the film tackles a host of raw and emotive topics - from the realities of loss through to shifting family dynamics.

"I just loved this girl," says Barker, 24, emphatically.

"It's everything I love in a coming-of-age story."

A project that also touches on questions surrounding identity, Barker's character is shaped through her experiences growing up as the only mixed-race member of an otherwise all-white household.

"Yakira's dealing with alienation, you know?

"And I think one way we see her deal with that is the fact she's mixed-race and she lives in this suburban, mostly white sort of area.

"I grew up in a situation like that myself, so I could really relate to that.

"I relate to it as well because when my parents split up, my mum married a woman and she had a daughter.

"And so, I lived with two white mums and a white stepsister, and next door to me was a mixed-race family.

"I looked more like I should have been over there but I was in this really different, modern day kind of set-up.

"And Yakira has a similar sort of family background herself."

With the film's premise hitting close to home, Barker says the script's relatability wasn't initially something director Ed Morris and the wider production crew were aware of.

"They had no idea," says Barker.

"But when I went into the casting, I did tell them my life story.

"I was like, 'listen mate, this is me. This is where I come from. This is my background', you know? Because this role was just mine.

"And it was, so it all worked out in the end."

Known for his directorial projects across both advertising and music, Morris is probably best known for his now-banned documentary This Is Not - An Interview with Tony Kaye, depicting a series of conversations with the renowned American History X director.

Favouring a raw style of cinematography that continues into his feature debut, How To Stop A Recurring Dream retains the unpolished undertones that litter the filmmaker's past work.

The film's undeniably rough edges are at their most visible when the plot takes a dark turn, following on from the news that the impending separation will involve split-custody of the siblings.

As Yakira takes matters into her own hands, she proceeds to kidnap her younger sister and takes to the road in an attempt to reconnect ahead of the pair's parting.

"I loved the fact she stole her dad's classic car," exclaims Barker of the storyline.

"I love the fact she kidnaps her stepsister. I love the fact there are all these action-y moments within the script that I wouldn't usually have the opportunity to do."

"I love the dream-like quality of it and the trippiness and the darkness, and then the real heartfelt sadness of when it's exploring loss and grief and separation and all that sort of stuff.

"She does have a boyfriend but what is the situation there?

"And why don't her parents even know where her phone is or how to get a hold of her?"

It's safe to say the dirt and action-packed sequences that play out as part of How To Stop A Recurring Dream are a far cry from the corsets and demure demeanour of Marina Thompson as part of hit Netflix series Bridgerton.

However, Barker says that swapping leopard print leggings for regency corsets and extravagant gowns was something she took in her stride.

"I couldn't let that throw me," says Barker of the thematic transition between the two projects.

"I shot How To Stop A Recurring Dream first - I shot that in 2018 and I started Bridgerton in 2019 I think.

"I just had to focus on the character and the job at hand, do my historical research and get used to wearing a corset.

"I took a corset home with me so that I could practise. I wore it all the time so I could practise breathing in it because they're really uncomfortable.

"I wore a half corset, so it wasn't as bad.

"Nicola (Coughlan), who played Penelope, she was in a full-on corset. I don't know how she did it but she did, she's an absolute trooper."

Despite the striking thematic differences, it was How To Stop A Recurring Dream's gritty plotline and aesthetic that proved an additional draw for Barker.

"I only hurt myself once doing the action stuff... which is good for me because I am a bit of a clumsy person.

"It was just so much fun getting to run around, be wild and let my hair get all crazy and twigs in it and stuff like that, it was just fantastic.

"Other than having to dirt up, I didn't have to wear make-up for the majority of the film.

"It was nice being all dirty and moody and bloody - I feel that's how you should be when you're on a film."

How To Stop A Recurring Dream is available to stream via Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV and other major streaming platforms.