Last week I attended a review screening of a film which was released earlier this year called 'Last Chance Harvey'. It's being released on DVD/Blu Ray in May 09. Here's my film review which I have written for the staff magazine at my place of work....it's a while since I have exercised my 'journalistic muscle', so don't expect this to be very well-written... you've been warned!
'Last Chance Harvey' tracks the seeming misfortunes of two singles from different sides of the Atlantic pond - whose lives eventually collide in fairly unassuming circumstances after a series of missed opportunities.
Dustin Hoffman plays Harvey Shine - an advertising-jingle-writing, jazz-piano-playing divorcee from Los Angeles - whose career and complicated relationship with his daughter both hang precariously in the balance.
Emma Thompson plays Kate Walker who leads a busy but underwhelming existence in London - a mediocre job, a loveable but draining and neurotic mother, a vain and hopeless search for love with the help of everyone around her.
Last Chance Harvey is a gentle and sensitive romantic comedy-drama - incorporating an archetypal joker-type down on his luck, falling for an equally archetypal happy but wistful spinster - who each end up saving one another from the relative misery of their single lives.
This is not said as a criticism - more as a way to manage expectations - there's no ground breaking revelations or insights achieved in this film! Additionally there are some sub-plots which are predictable and unoriginal.
Having said this, the film is clever in its ability to challenge the viewers' assumptions right from the start. It also takes a light-hearted look at the stereotypical British character in a fairly forthright manner. Moreover, this film considers the perspectives, challenges, excitement and complexities of finding love when you're older than the youthful characters usually found in a Hollywood script - reminding the audience that true romantic emotions, and the fear of loneliness, can affect you no matter your age.
There are some really funny scenes with Hoffman, and Thompson's fine acting talent is clear to see in some very poignant and touching moments.
If you're single you may well laugh at, and relate to, this film. If you're in an established relationship, you could well laugh with relief.
I give this film 3.5 out of 5.