Archives for posts with tag: Emma Thompson

Last Chance Harvey is one of those movies that starts with a slow build. I seem to come across them quite a lot and sometimes wonder if they really are slow starters. Maybe it’s my lack of patience. It seems too rare to be engaged and entertained from the moment of fade in, but maybe I’m rare for being so demanding. I’m just grateful that a remote control makes personal movie editing so easy. I can be ruthless with the fast forward button. Something about Last Chance Harvey made me leave the remote alone, and I was rewarded for it.

There was something compelling about Harvey from the start, even though he danced right up to the edge of the milquetoast precipice. Dustin Hoffman is so good at whatever he does that he can hold my attention, where a lesser talent might not. It’s especially interesting to me that no matter what character he plays I see just a hint of Rainman, yet he rises beyond that defining character and leaves the hint behind. As I become absorbed in whatever he puts in front of me in the moment, I forget everything he’s portrayed before. That is serious talent. Emma Thompson brings her own charm and charisma to this movie. Between the two of them, my tendency toward impatience was overpowered.

Once the heart of the movie kicks in, it’s a real charmer. The unlikely late in life changing romance really drives home the notion that it’s never too late to find joy. Or rather for joy to find you. The idea that a last chance can lead to a second chance is so appealing. So is the idea that a downtrodden sad sack may have a romantic heart and soul lurking beneath his unfortunate inappropriate suit.

Last Chance Harvey transported me to London along with Harvey and took me along on his misadventures, his adventures, and his journey toward the courage it takes to reinvent yourself. Real life can do that, you know. Lead us down impossible paths and into dire circumstances that in turn lead to situations that seem born from pure chance. Last chance, second chance…this movie is about possibilities.

The ending is simple and sweet. Just like the story it tells of two lonely hearts that decide to walk hand in hand toward whatever future they make together. It rewards patience with a reminder that anything is possible for hearts willing to open to the potential of second chances.

Last Chance Harvey Theatrical Trailer

I watched Mary Poppins at some point, but I really don’t remember much about it. The songs are stuck permanently in my head, because I had to learn them for a music program in grade school. It was actually pretty cool for a small rural school. We waved silk scarves during Let’s Go Fly a Kite and one poor girl got roped into dressing up like an old woman and scattering invisible crumbs as the lucky rest of us merely sang “…tuppence…tuppence…tuppence a bag…” Supercalifragilisticantspellit was a rousing success. So I couldn’t resist singing along with the poor songwriters trying to please Mrs. Travers.

Said Mrs. Travers was quite the character in Saving Mr. Banks. I found her difficult nature to be the only thing I didn’t like about the movie. Then again, that WAS the movie. And her rigid, obstinate reaction to a perfectly lovely adaptation in the making made her just as tragic as she was annoying. The counter story of her childhood in Australia, hazy bucolic scenes intercut with her shiny Hollywood misadventures, was my favorite part. Partly because it explained why she was the way she was, and partly because I loved the Australianness of it. It captured both the beauty and the harshness of the
outback, even as it captured the
beauty of her relationship with the failed drunken father she adored. Emma Thompson was excellent as a sad figure who eventually became a shining jewel of a person as Walt Disney slowly chipped away at the stone that she had become.

Tom Hanks was amazing. He totally disappeared into beloved Hollywood icon Walt Disney. As the movie portrayed
him (I say it like that because I don’t know anything about Walt Disney other than what I saw in Saving Mr. Banks), he was a shrewd businessman and someone who lived his life with an almost child-like joy. Who better than modern day beloved Hollywood icon Tom Hanks to portray such a character?

I watched this right after Winter’s Tale and again was struck by how talented Colin Farrell is. I was also impressed by the talent of the child actress playing the girl version of Mrs. Travers. It will be interesting to see what she’ll be doing a decade from now.

Saving Mr. Banks turned out to have much more depth than I’d anticipated. A dual period period movie, as well as a look into the adaptation process…with the book rights very much in limbo during that process. It’s also a strong lesson in how not to behave if you’re an author expected to make compromises in collaboration. The audio recordings of the real Mrs. Travers played during the end credits reinforce that lesson. Mrs.
Travers, as it turns out, needed saving every bit as much as her dear Mr. Banks. It just took Walt Disney’s intelligence and compassion to make her realize it.

Saving Mr. Banks Trailer # 1