Last Chance Harvey

2009

Last Chance Harvey

Critics Consensus

Last Chance Harvey is an above-average story that graduates to potent romantic drama based on the chemistry and charm of its top-notch performers.

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 158

53%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,782
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Movie Info

New Yorker Harvey Shine is on the verge of losing his dead-end job as a jingle writer. Warned by his boss that he has just one more chance to deliver, Harvey goes to London for a weekend to attend his daughter's wedding but promises to be back on Monday morning to make an important meeting--or else. Harvey arrives in London only to learn his daughter has chosen to have her stepfather walk her down the aisle instead of him. Doing his best to hide his devastation, he leaves the wedding before the reception in hopes of getting to the airport on time, but misses his plane anyway. When he calls his boss to explain, he is fired on the spot. Drowning his sorrows at the airport bar, Harvey strikes up a conversation with Kate, a slightly prickly, 40-something employee of the Office of National Statistics. Kate, whose life is limited to work, the occasional humiliating blind date and endless phone calls from her smothering mother, is touched by Harvey, who finds himself energized by her intelligence and compassion. The growing connection between the pair inspires both as they unexpectedly transform one another's lives.

Cast

Critic Reviews for Last Chance Harvey

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (112) | Rotten (46)

  • The problem lies in a sloppy screenplay and direction that's too slick to be credible. Added to that, while Thompson often makes acting look natural, Hoffman these days makes natural look like acting.

    Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/5
  • Nimble dialogue, a brace of insightful moments and a slightly chocolate-box view of our city, lend 'Last Chance Harvey' a warmth and wisdom which outshine the more timeworn elements of the screenplay.

    Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Watching them dance effortlessly through this film is a reminder that two actors at the absolute top of their game can weave magic even in a slightly predictable example of a wholly formulaic genre.

    Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • This bittersweet, autumnal heartwarmer about two middle-aged people getting a last chance at love and happiness exceeded my personal tolerance factor for gloop and gush - but not by too much.

    Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • But while the film tilts progressively further towards the chick-flick (most notably with a cliché-of-clichés trying-on-dresses-to-music scene), some witty moments make this a high-living title in a low-rent market.

    Jun 5, 2009 | Rating: 2/5
  • All this gloomy masochism is made palatable because of the performers. And yet we must ask: Is this any way to show off two of our finest actors?

    Jan 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Last Chance Harvey

  • Jan 05, 2014
    Often funny, effectively rendered, and resonating on a deep level with its characters, Last Chance Harvey is the rare romantic drama that offers something new. The story revolves around the seemingly hapless Harvey Shine who, upon his trip to London, encounters his increasing disconnect from his estranged daughter before losing his job, only to meet the witty and affable Kate Walker (played by Emma Thompson). It's a story that has a certain light sensibility, yet an execution which respects its material. The story itself certainly has familiar elements, and a predictable resolution. We are used to vulnerable characters, lonely characters, and yet hopefully stories of surprising love. Yet with Last Chance Harvey, director Joel Hopkins gives us a film that feels authentic to its premise. Its exploration of family estrangement is mature and restrained. He treats his characters with an intelligence and respect. The character arcs we witness feel real, the moments feel earned. This is certainly bolstered by the strong performances of both Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, both of whom have a palpable chemistry. Hoffman's character in a particular provides a nice departure from the normal male protagonist of similarly themed films, giving us a man of boldness, and not afraid to display his uncertainty. Thus, while the outcome is scarcely in question, the ride in getting there is often uncomfortable. We are entreated to characters of profound vulnerability, yet hopeful dispositions. We grow with the characters, and thus buy the film's outcome. The themes it touches on are both poignant and effective, painting us a story that stays with us. An overall very strong effort. 4/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2013
    1 star for Dustin, 1 star for Emma, half a star for the pace & on a level of personal preference half a star for the setting.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Feb 16, 2012
    Two of life's failures, convincingly portrayed by Hoffman and Thompson, collide in London to discover that perhaps they aren't such consummate failures after all. An actor's showcase, the leads are the workhorses that really sell this little intimate film about two people who are at the party but somehow not in it.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 02, 2011
    Last Chance Harvey is a charming, highly predictable, and impeccably acted vehicle for the charisma and chemistry of Hoffman and Thompson. Almost every scene rings truly to life, with a wry and melancholy empathy. A sixty-ish man facing total family and career meltdown, and a fifty-something old maid who has given up on love is NOT promising fare for a wide, multi-generational audience. This film will likely only appeal to viewers who have need of progressive lenses. However, the sunny sincerity and touching human moments make this film work - mostly. Viewers will need to come to the film with modest expectations - it's a comedy with very few laughs (instead it provides mostly wistful smiles), and a romantic film with no sex or even sexual tension. On the negative side, this film feels like it should have ended at the one hour mark when the family is reconciled at the wedding reception. It takes some artificial, convenient plot points like apparent heart attacks to stretch out the last half hour to any kind of complete film experience. This film is worth seeing for the performances of Hoffman and Thompson and the sensitive and well observed 'slice of life' writing. .
    Josh M Super Reviewer

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