Monday, May 04, 2009

London Calling: A Review of Last Chance Harvey

"Last Chance Harvey isn’t particularly ambitious, and its minimal storytelling scope indicates it wasn’t designed for more than home video viewing (or perhaps in-flight entertainment), but it does offer a few certain charms. It’s the equivalent of a competently written paperback or a leftover helping of Ma’s comfort food. With the right expectations there’s nothing to be disappointed by – but there’s also nothing to be challenged by, either."

Click here to read my DVD review at PopMatters

1 comment:

Joe said...

I agree with most of what you said. It is a film that is destined to be referred to as "lovely" by a substantial part of its audience (including me), and indeed, that was the adjective I overheard from several of the other (older) members of the audience in my screening. I fear for its box office chances here. Being released right in the height of summer madness, presumably as a counterweight, means the film wont have the time to build its audience which will largely come from word of mouth and from people who don't go and see films on their opening weekend. DVD may be its natural home for better or worse.
They were clearly characters choosing to embrace their inner teenager one last time, staying up all night and the like, but the mature, realistic conversation they have about the potential of their relationship leads me to disagree about them essentially being teenagers. A teen rom-com would not have ended in such a way. Yes some of the darker elements of their past is rather glossed over, but could we really expect a couple to go into any further depth on the first day of their meeting?
It was nice to see an intelligent, beautiful female lead in an "unglamorous" occupation, although I didn't buy the workaholic aspect of Harvey.
The film also generally avoided the Curtis traps - much as I love him - which every London based rom-com seems to fall into these days, especially populating London with eccentrics of inexplicable wealth.
Its not going to change the world, but it doesn't want to and I applaud it for that. Its generally sweet (without being saccharine), London looks beautiful - the device of a stranger in town is a handy excuse to show off its postcard charms - you end up warming and caring for the majority of characters, particularly the leads (when Hoffman looked like he would have a heart attack, half the audience endearingly and audibly gasped), and I left the theatre in a better mood than when I entered, which is all you can really ask for from such a film. And here's to seeing Hoffman doing more lead roles again one hopes. After seeing the new Terminator film which entered straight into my top 10 most hated films list, this was a refreshing antidote.
But yes, the dress scene belonged in another movie.