Friday, 29 May 2009

Last Chance Harvey: Movie Review

Last Chance Harvey: Movie Review

Rating 6/10
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Richard Schiff
Director: Joel Hopkins
Stop me if you have heard this one before....
Lonely divorcee has chance meeting with permanent singleton.
Against the odds, the pair form a friendship and it evolves to a relationship - but the pair are from other sides of the world - how can their budding romance survive such insurmountable obstacles?
Granted, it's not the most original idea ever, but Last Chance Harvey just about manages to pull it off - even if it does dip into heavy schmaltz.
Dustin Hoffman is Harvey Shine, a NY based jingle writer, who is on his last chance with his employers.
With a big deal about to break, Shine has to head to England to see his estranged daughter marry.
Emma Thompson is Kate Walker, a customer services rep for an airline.
Forever on blind dates and apparently consigned to spinsterhood, she's beset by a meddling mum whose husband ran off to France with a younger woman.
Shine and Walker meet as he disembarks the plane - and he refuses to answer her questions.
Later, after being leaving his daughter's wedding early (that's how close ole Harvey is to the family), he bumps into Kate again.
And in a moment of self loathing and realizing he's lost everything, he starts to talk to her&.and the two of them realize last chances should be seized - before it's too late.
What is there to say about Last Chance Harvey?
If you're prone to sentimental films and well up with emotion as the human condition is examined, then this flick is for you.
But it's a couple of very good turns by Hoffman and Thompson which raise this out of the mire of treacly schmaltz.
Hoffman's good as the world weary Shine - despondent after being rejected by a personal and professional world, he conveys just the right amount of sass and sadness to make his character likeable.
And Thompson puts in an admirable performance as the spinster who's always on blind dates or being set up by her mother - her breakdown towards the end of the film is deeply plausible as she faces the very real possibility of being alone for the rest of her life.
The only cloying part of this film is a sub plot involving Kate's mother and her new Polish neighbour - which exploits every possible racial stereotype concerning foreigners and has an extremely predictable outcome.

Last Chance Harvey won't win any awards for originality and it won't surprise you for the moves it puts on your heartstrings - but it's a solid story with some solid performances from its leads which will give anyone who's still single and despairing a ray of cinematic hope.

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