Saturday, 10 July 2010

Last Chance Harvey

My rating: 6/10

Last Chance Harvey is a very endearing film. The Director/Screenwriter Joel Hopkins has quite a sparse repertoire but that aside, he is able to create a film that beautifully responds to the obviously great performances of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

The film itself is fairly simplistic. We are introduced to both our leads Kate (Thompson) and Harvey (Hoffman) separately and are given the necessary background of their life. The main point that is vital to come across is that they are both very lonely people. Kate receives regularly phone calls from her mum and is only too willing to talk, and Harvey is clearly still at a job where his presence is no longer required. Harvey flies to London for his daughters wedding and realises that his presence there no longer seems required since his daughter's Stepdad has replaced that role in her life.
Although Kate and Harvey have had a couple of minor encounters before, they meet properly at the airport bar and form an unlikely friendship.

So the film as a whole is nothing spectacular or amazingly exciting, but like I said before it is endearing. Hopkins script is charming and witty in a nice subtle way. I think the characters are charming and intriguing. This mainly has to do with both of their age. Neither of them are young, or have had great experiences with relationships and so the development of this one with each other makes an interesting watch.
Hoffman and Thompson are able to portray a great kind of awkwardness which is another element that adds a real charm to the film. It is a nice quality to see on screen as this kind of awkwardness is usually depicted most in teen romcoms. Harvey and Kate's first kiss for example is the epitome of an awkward first kiss. But this is nice as it shows how inexperienced and out of touch the two character's are at forming a romantic bond.

Hopkins has chosen some very pretty settings for this film which just adds to the whole appealing nature of the film. Dusk is a common setting, where the sky is pretty. The background often shows a wonderful shot of a beautiful scenery which provides the feeling of romance. The music adds to the charm and gives the film a very uplifting, happy feel. Although a different composer, it is very reminiscent of The Holiday, probably because of the feel good and endearing vibe that it sends out.

The small sub-plot that is included featuring Kate's mum and her Polish neighbour provides a lovely essence and break point to the main. It is a nice layer to add that shows your time for love is never over. This being a message I think is emphasised throughout this films entirety. The wedding of Harvey's daughter demonstrates the ideal path and age of love, Harvey and Kate provides a longer path, and Kate's mum shows that there may be a few wrong turns but affection can still be found.

For me, this feels like a tamer version of An Affair to Remember. The vibe of the film feels the same, especially with the obvious snatch of idea where Harvey tells Kate to meet him in a certain place at a certain time, but doesn't show up due to an accident. I say tamer, because the distance, time and heartbreak that follows in An Affair to Remember is quickly brushed over in this film, providing a quicker ending. But the relationship before this happened hasn't developed that deeply and so seems probable that these things would happen quicker.
Although I enjoyed this film and loved the emotion and charm that it brought, I do feel that it could do with being longer. It felt like it was over before it had really began. The relationship didn't seem to have been given enough time to develop properly and it all seemed like it was forced to happen too quick in order to fit a specific time span (exactly 90mins).

Overall though, it is a lovely film. Hoffman and Thompson provide their typically good performances in showing us two older people finding love later in life. Although the script is not spectacular, it has a nice unique wit and allure to it that simply provides a smile. It's a nice story with nice characters and overall it just makes you feel nice inside. Although I may not be rushing towards a second watch, it is definitely worth a first!

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