Second Best (1994)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Actor William Hurt delivers one of his most acclaimed performances in this drama from Oscar-winning cinematographer-turned-director Chris Menges. Hurt stars as Graham Holt, a repressed Welsh postmaster who lives a reclusive bachelor's existence with his suicidal father (Alfred Lynch), who is in failing health and is still grieving from the recent death of Graham's mother. Knowing that he'll soon be alone, Graham applies to adopt a troubled ten-year-old boy, James (Chris Cleary Miles), whose own … More

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: David Cook (I), David Cook (XXII)
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 21, 1995
Warner Home Video


as James

as Debbie

as Bernard

as Uncle Turpin

as Alice

as James (age 3)

as Adoption Shop Volunt...

as Senior Social Worker

as Graham (age 20)

as Colin (age 20)

as Jimmy

as Mrs. Hawkins

as Graham (age 12)

as Maureen

as Policeman

as Staff Nurse

as Mrs. Hilliard
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Second Best

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

William Hurt portrays an unmarried Welsh postmaster who decides to adopt a child after his own parents pass away. Both he and the boy he is assigned have psychological scars, and the gradual revelation of these inner pains is what fuels the plot, but the

October 14, 2004

Audience Reviews for Second Best

Really good movie. I am actually surprised that it is from 1994, and I have never seen it before. Where have they been hiding this wonderful film? William Hurt did a great job, and that kid...well what can I say. He deserved an Oscar for this, as far as I am concerned. Very moving. Very touching.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Very strong performance from Hurt and one of the most poignant depictions of a father-child relationship.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Well made but I found it very hard to get involved with the characters, and there were a number of scenes that dragged on. The acting is excellent, wonderfully photographed. But it is just so bleak and just too boring overall. It seemed much longer than its actual length. Perhaps if the characters were more interesting, I might not have found it so slow.

James Higgins

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