Last Chance Harvey (12A)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Jun 2 2009Retooling the romcom for an ageing audience is hardly a new idea: Woody Allen’s mid-’90s output sports a few deft examples, while, more recently, Jack Nicholson took a solid stab with ‘As Good As It Gets’ and ‘Something’s Gotta Give’. And while ‘Last Chance Harvey’ may not display all the wit and sparkle of those efforts, it counters with a surprising willingness to explore the darker side of late middle-age: loneliness, insecurity and self-doubt.
Divorced musician Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) travels to London for his daughter’s wedding, and finds himself an outsider in his own family. At the same time, Kate (Emma Thompson) is on a date with a younger man, feeling out of place among his friends and contemplating a life of solitude. Until a chance encounter… well, guess the rest.
Hopkins directs with confident, fluid grace: if only his storytelling were as smooth. The script is often predictable and repeatedly sidetracked by baffling asides featuring Kate’s mother Maggie (Eileen Atkins) and her suspicions about the Pole next door. But the film’s saving grace is its stars. Hoffman and Thompson make for a hugely appealing, unorthodox couple – he twitchy and self deprecating; she graceful, world-weary and a foot taller. These performances, coupled with nimble dialogue, a brace of insightful moments and a slightly chocolate-box view of our city, lend ‘Last Chance Harvey’ a warmth and wisdom which outshine the more timeworn elements of the screenplay.
Author: Tom Huddleston
Fri Jun 5 2009