Monday, 28 September 2020
Last Chance Harvey
Thursday, 22 January 2009 00:00

ThumbnailWith Paul Blart: Mall Cop apparently selling out, and My Bloody Valentine: 3D drawing crowds, what do I decide to go see? The smallest little film out there right now - but the one with the most promising pedigree - Last Chance Harvey.

This bare bones romance stars the exceedingly talented Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman in a sort of fall-winter love story. I say this because the people falling in love in this film are not still using fake ID to pick-up at bars and they do not have the breasts of Scarlett Johansen or the blazing smile of Ryan Reynolds. Thompson and Hoffman are both very believable, regular people and they both do a fine job with a somewhat predictable script.

Hoffman plays Harvey, a bumbling composer who writes commercial jingles. He seems to have missed out on a lot of opportunities in life, and has lost his family and self-respect in the process. Harvey travels to London for his daughters wedding but gets a rude awakening during the family gathering. She has asked her stepfather to give her away at the ceremony. Harvey is crushed. He just doesn’t seem to belong anywhere anymore and is tired of being an embarrassment. Emma Thompson is a middle-aged woman who can’t seem to escape the watchful eye of her mother, who phones at every opportunity. She works at an airport, is well liked and attractive, but still feels lonely. A chance encounter brings the two characters together and they seem to connect despite their differences.

ThumbnailHarvey is a character who had me at odds with how I felt about him. For most of the film he is just so lost and alone that he warranted sympathy. He seems so uncomfortable and out of place no matter where he goes. Once the “romantic” part of the film begins though, I felt a little differently. Let’s just say if I had been Emma Thompson I would have called the police on Mr. Harvey Shine! He simply hones in on her and is so persistent it is like watching a stalker in action. Quite honestly he began to give me the creeps! And despite fine performance by both actors, I really didn’t feel that there was any romantic connection whatsoever.

In a lot of ways this movie reminded me of the 1995 film Before Sunrise starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Both are about a meeting of the minds of two strangers who just seem to understand each other. Both are rather slow paced, dialogue driven films with good scripts. The difference is that Last Chance Harvey isn’t a movie I’ll remember over a decade from now. It just wasn’t original enough. Overall, it’s an enjoyable movie to watch but not a very memorable one.