Last Chance Harvey (2009)
Last Chance Harvey (2009)
Critic 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.
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Critic Reviews for Last Chance Harvey
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.
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?
These two actors are so strong that in the end we are left with a sweet and a tender movie.
Sure, it's predictable at times, and maybe even a little sappy, but overall it's a sweet movie about genuine human emotion.
Watching Hoffman and Thompson tentatively discover each other is joyously tender.
Audience Reviews for Last Chance Harvey
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.
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. .
I actually thought this was going to be a very light, breezy comedy in the vein of Nancy Meyers, so imagine the disappointment when I find Last Chance Harvey is incredibly uncomfortable. Dustin Hoffman plays Harvey, a loser who's ignored and pushed aside at work and by his family, but he's a loser you can't root for or empathize with since he's so bitter and obnoxious. You even start to wonder if the world is just punishing him for his terrible attitude. But director and writer Joel Hopkins is a clever guy. As soon as Emma Thompson enters the picture (literally), everything changes. The mood's lighter, funnier, warmer. That's certainly a nice touch that mirrors all that Harvey feels upon meeting Kate. Last Chance Harvey also has a fantastic script and two incredible actors in the lead roles. Thompson is such an illuminating presence. I am a little biased, though; she reminds me of my mother. Hoffman's wedding speech is one of the most touching scenes I've seen in a long time. Eileen Atkins and Bronagh Gallagher are great in bit parts that offer comic relief.
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