Sunday 17 September 2023

Movie Review: Last Chance Harvey (2008)

Genre: Romantic Dramedy
Director: Joel Hopkins
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker, James Brolin
Running Time: 92 minutes

Synopsis: Divorced music composer Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is struggling to save his career. He travels to London to attend his daughter's wedding, but receives another emotional blow when she selects her stepfather (James Brolin) to walk her down the aisle. Meanwhile British government worker Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) is unlucky in love, and exasperated by her over-attentive mother Maggie (Eileen Atkins). Harvey and Kate meet at the airport, and a romance blossoms.

What Works Well: The later-in-life romance benefits from Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in fine form, a laid-back attitude, and crisp London locations. Both lead characters are surrounded by plenty of luggage and regrets, Harvey's sense of exclusion from his ex-family and Kate's overbearing mother providing signposts to past missteps. Director Joel Hopkins seeks touches of mild humour, including Harvey's misadventures in a white suit and Maggie's interactions with a next-door Polish neighbour.

What Does Not Work As Well: This is as vanilla and predictable as a romance can get, complete with a de rigueur third act complication. And although Hoffman hides it well, he is still 22 years older than his co-star.

Conclusion: Familiar and borderline bland content is saved by a good cast and tidy production values.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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