Considered dispassionately, Figgis' lavish update of Terence Rattigan's play must be judged redundant, even meaningless, as an account of contemporary British manners. However much Ronald Harwood's screenplay tries to 'modernise' things, the story belongs inescapably to a different world with different social mores. That said, as Crocker-Harris, the buttoned-up classics teacher (Finney), faces an enforced retirement, not to mention rumours that his wife Laura (Scacchi) might be having an affair with his friend, the chemistry teacher Frank Hunter (Modine), the film contrives, despite its conspicuous faults, to work surprisingly well as a full-blown weepie. Most of the credit must go to Finney, whose quiet but overwhelmingly moving performance lends the film an emotional truth its heritage trimmings hardly deserve.
Cast and crew