Life for a pair of veteran actors gets turned upside down after they meet a brash teenager.
Peter O’Toole is an aging, jobbing actor who falls in love, or the idea of love with the niece of his best friend played with wonderful comedy by Leslie Phillips.
Both the girl, Jessie, played by newcomer Jodie Whittaker and O’Toole’s Maurice, have dislikeable traits which remove any sense of the maudlin, making it a better picture for it.
He is a randy old devil who would go as far as she would let him, and for her part Jessie is an unbearable tease and very much out for what she can get out of the old boy.
Therefore Lolita comparisons are invidious although there are touching moments of vulnerability from the girl who has quite clearly never been shown appropriate love from an adult.
O’Toole is simply brilliant, bringing comedy and pathos to a part which avoids the clichés of old age whilst using the comic opportunities it affords, and it’s refreshing to see older people portrayed in a more gritty and human way, rather than either wise old men, or stupid old senile buffoons.
It is a warm, comic and dark tale written by Hanif Kureishi and superbly delivered by a high quality cast and is a great antidote to the hideously saccharine output of Richard Curtis Brit Rom Com genre, which just re enforces bland English stereotypes.
IN OTHER FILM NEWS….
The Hull Daily Mail carries a story that Hull Screen is to be cut to three nights a week, which would be a disaster as so many films (London to Brighton, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Al Gore, Pierrepoint etc etc) will never get shown in this City.
I rang Cineworld on Kingswood and was told that the SOLE criteria for deciding which films we get is based on the ITV viewing demographic, which is way above the national average, thus more challenging, and less commercial stuff doesn’t stand a chance because, as we all know, Working Class people are thick.