Archives for posts with tag: London

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’ve been looking forward to Mr. Holmes since I first saw a trailer for it. Just from that it appeared to be lush, charming, and intriguing. I just finished watching it at last and it was all of that, and more.

It got off to a slow start to the point that I was a little disappointed at first. Over the course of the movie I learned a little screenwriting lesson. There is a subtle, but great, difference between a slow start and a slow build. Under the brilliant acting mantle of the great Sir Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes builds a foundation, then layer upon layer of…everything that makes an unforgettable movie.

The case becomes cases, nestled together like a Russian nested doll. They interweave, though at first they seem unconnected. They seem at odds, they almost war with each other, until they become clearly woven threads that hold together the very fabric of Sherlock Holmes’ later life.

Holmes himself is as complex and fascinating as any of his cases. Old, fading, and frail, he seeks to remember the events that were his undoing. In doing so he unravels himself and those around him, until at last he is able to right wrongs and emerge stronger and more able to be the man he carried always inside himself. As part of his last case, he makes the lives of others profoundly better. He accomplishes what we all might wish for in our old age. He leaves his world and those who have fallen into its orbit better than if he’d done nothing.

Ian McKellen is one of the finest actors of our time, and with seamless ease embodies an elderly Sherlock Holmes with dignity and grace and a twinkly measure of humor. He moves through the gorgeous scenery and takes us with a latter day Sherlock on a tour of the English coastal countryside and period London, as he guides us into the inner workings of the most formidable detective’s mind.

A movie of unexpected depths, heartbreak and joy, Mr. Holmes leaves the viewer with thoughts and images, ideas and characters, rights and wrongs enough to keep the thought process going for some time to come.

Mr. Holmes Official US Trailer #1