Mary Poppins Returns
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Disappointing but easy to watch sly comedy that skewers real-life love and pulp fiction romance as both products of fiction.
In "The Romantic Englishwoman," Elizabeth(Glenda Jackson) is vacationing in Baden-Baden. While there, she has an innocent encounter with Thomas(Helmut Berger) who is there on business. Which her husband Lewis(Michael Caine), a novelist, imagines to be not-so-innocent, especially after she flies back against his explicit instructions. His worries are intensified when Thomas seeking a place to hide out after a business deal goes south travels to their house under cover of being a poet who is a fan of Lewis' novels.
"The Romantic Englishwoman" is a prime example of when very dull things happen to great actors. So much so, that they can do little with the material at hand. Admittedly, telling Thomas' story with as little as dialogue as possible is a neat touch.(And you have to admit it. Thomas does have style.) But even with such potential, the movie, not able to decide between romance, comedy, psychological drama, meta weirdness or thriller, just decides to sit there for long stretches. Maybe it would have helped if the story had started off with Lewis' first conversation with Herman(Rene Kolldehoff) as a way of introducing everybody. Maybe not.
I just can't resist the creepiness of a Helmut Berger role guided by Joseph Losey to a place where fantasy and reality collide.
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