Tuesday, December 11, 2007


2006, UK, directed by Roger Michell

Rating: **.5

Though intermittently enjoyable as an actors' showcase, no amount of script padding can conceal the fact that Roger Michell's film is terribly thin, and thus maddeningly repetitive. While there is considerable poignancy in the film's depiction of an older man's attempts to cling to his more youthful passions, as well as a consciously discomfiting suggestion that even those of advanced years might have sexual feelings, Hanif Kureishi's script too frequently takes refuge in easy amusements such as having his old codgers swear like sailors.

It's hard not to conclude that Peter O'Toole is playing a slightly more down-at-heel version of himself - one hopes he's squirreled away a little more cash than the still-working bit part actor he plays here - and as such it's a carefully-judged performance devoid of vanity from one who started his career as such a stunningly handsome man of action. There is a genuine warmth in his interactions with the rest of the cast - whether the youthful Jodie Whittaker, or his fellow oldsters Leslie Phillips, Richard Griffiths and the ever-luminous Vanessa Redgrave; the actors are almost able to lift the film over its fundamental weaknesses.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States