Second chances and unlikely love are the subjects of this AARP-generation romantic comedy, which stars Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.
Starring:Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins
A pensive note of loss permeates "Last Chance Harvey," an unassuming, sneakily winning movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Sort of a "Before Sunrise" for the sunset years, this quiet romantic comedy takes a cinematic chestnut (two meet fleetingly, spend time together and embark on a tentative romance until fate intervenes) and somehow infuses it with a sense of rue and regret that makes it seem new.
Hoffman plays the title character, a New York-based jingle writer who travels to London for his daughter's wedding. It's obvious almost immediately that Harvey is close to washed-up professionally. But once he gets to London, it becomes increasingly clear that he's on the outs personally as well. He's even shot down by his own daughter, who chooses her stepfather to give her away.
Admittedly, Harvey is a social flatfoot. But when he meets Kate (Thompson), a mutual recognition of souls transpires, and the two wind up spending a day walking London's lively South Bank. "Last Chance Harvey" is far from perfect (a subplot featuring Kate's elderly mother goes nowhere.) But Thompson and Hoffman develop an easy, unforced chemistry, even as contrivance threatens to scuttle the whole enterprise. "Last Chance Harvey" winds up being a touching portrait of that rarity in the movies: a recognizably human couple with recognizably human problems and quirks.
-- Ann Hornaday (Jan. 16, 2009)Contains brief strong profanity.
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