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Last Chance Harvey

Retooling 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.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday June 5 2009
Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joel Hopkins
Screenwriter: Joel Hopkins
Cast: Dustin Hoffman
Emma Thompson
Eileen Atkins
Kathy Baker
Liane Balaban
James Brolin
Richard Schiff

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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usman khawaja

i wish i did not tune into this on a flight to havana as then i would still have liked hoffman but after this i just am not sure what he is trying to make in his old age - this was a really dowdy and dreary dowager romantic comedy about a dysfunctional american and a frustrated english maid played transitionally by the stereotyped anglophile emma thompson who now needs to retire -extremely disappointing

John Cooper

Although a three star rating for his film is understandable, I just have to give it 4 stars for the quality acting from Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. What's the film lacks in the way of plot, is more than made up for by the stunning performance from the 71 year old Hoffman. 70 is obviously the new 60 as Hoffman charms his way into the heart of the likeable Thompson, who claims to be ` comfortable with being disappointed` . . .. Hoffman's moving father-of-the bride wedding speech alone is worth the price of a cinema ticket . Back in the late 70's I once saw Dustin Hoffman enter a pub theatre in Hampstead.. He was wearing trainers, jeans t-shirt. . . . no one amongst the professional drinkers at the bar gave him a second look . Hoffman himself admits he couldn't get a date until he did The Graduate. . ..It is Hoffman's ability to get in touch with the ordinary man, and make you empathise with him which makes this film special. . .. Unsentimental, truthful - with a gentle optimism about man's ability to re-invent himself whatever his age. . . Recommended.

Anna B

I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but was ultimately very moved and entertained. I thought that the acting was superb and the dialogue really truthful. I would definitely recommend it.

Anna B

I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but was ultimately very moved and entertained. I thought that the acting was superb and the dialogue really truthful. I would definitely recommend it.

Diana D

A gentle "nice" film. Not much happened and it was all very predictable, but strangely true to life. Very emotional for those of us who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt! Excellent acting!

Paul

I am a 50's male and found the film simple but effective in showing how divorce & age impacts men and women differently. Not really a feel good film, although the ending is upbeat, Good wedding reception speech, high point of the film, but went on to watch State Of Play afterwards to cheer me up.