movie film review | chris tookey

Last Chance Harvey

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  Last Chance Harvey Review
Tookey's Rating
4 /10
Average Rating
4.63 /10
Harvey Dustin Hoffman, Kate Emma Thompson
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Directed by: Joel Hopkins
Written by: Joel Hopkins

Released: 2009
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK/ US
Colour: C
Length: 92

No-chance romantic drama.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Middle-aged love stories usually struggle at the box office – even absorbing ones, such as Frankie and Johnny, which starred Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, Something’s Gotta Give, in which Jack Nicholson wooed Diane Keaton, and As Good As It Gets, the wittiest of the bunch, which starred Nicholson again, this time opposite Helen Hunt.

Last Chance Harvey is a low-key romantic drama that follows falteringly in the footsteps of those movies. It fails to be as likeable, despite being beautifully acted by Dustin Hoffman (pictured left) and Emma Thompson (right). It turns out to be a middle-aged version of Beyond Sunset, a sensitive but rather too slow and talky account of two people bringing their emotional insecurities and family baggage to a potential romantic entanglement.

The 71 year-old Hoffman plays the sixtysomething Harvey Shine, a once successful but now struggling American jingle-writer who travels to London to attend the wedding of his grown-up daughter (Liana Balaban) from whom he feels estranged. He is attracted to the somewhat younger but still distinctly middle-aged Kate (Emma Thompson), who’s on the shelf – maybe because she’s prickly in conversation, but mainly because she’s a dutiful daughter to a neurotically needy mother (Eileen Atkins, who – through no fault of her own - slows up the film with a feeble and unnecessary subplot about a Polish neighbour she thinks may be a murderer).

Writer-director Joel Hopkins wants us to be charmed, but I found Harvey a bit of a bore, and felt Kate could do much better. She deserved someone brighter, less self-pitying, and younger. She may have been Harvey’s last chance at love, but I didn’t believe for a moment that he was hers.

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