It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that people go see movies geared toward their particular target audience. If youre wondering why Matthew McConaughey stays busy when all of his movies are exactly the same, just take a look at the crowd as theyre leaving the theater showing the Texas natives latest. Theyre ALL women. If youre wondering why Vin Diesel still has a career (like me), you must not be the target audience for mindless action films, typically 18-30 year old men. Ive always loved teen romantic comedies like 10 Things I Hate About You or Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist, but now that Im getting older and will be 30 years old soon, my tastes are changing. I find it refreshing to watch a romantic comedy that is real, and features older, more seasoned characters finding love.
Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is a middle-aged man working as a jingle writer in New York City. When he sits down to the piano to compose, you can see the joy on his face as he plays the instrument that he loves. But at work, hes treated poorly and its obvious that his talents are not being utilized to their fullest potential. He travels to England to attend his daughters wedding, only to discover that she has chosen her stepfather (the dashing James Brolin) to give her away instead of allowing him to do the honors. Heartbroken, he decides to skip the wedding and head home early only to find that he is late for the plane and has to stay in England for another night.
Kate (the ever lovely Emma Thompson) is a single woman living in London with one of the worst jobs ever. You know those people in the malls that just want “a minute of your time” so you can take a survey? Thats her, only she is a survey taker at Londons Heathrow airport. She gets plenty of calls on her cell phone, but theyre all from her neurotic mother who thinks her next door neighbor is a serial killer.
When Harvey goes to the airport bar, he discovers Kate sitting alone. The two strike up a conversation and begin a fast friendship that grows into love literally overnight.
The beginning act of this film is difficult to watch, I must admit. Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are two of the best actors working today, and its painful to watch them living such dreadful, unsatisfying lives. Once the two meet, the film immediately gets better as their chemistry is impeccable. Its so much fun to watch Hoffman transform from a socially awkward man into a suave suitor for Kate. Its obvious that Kate brings out the best in him. Kate is more guarded, and Thompsons performance is (no surprise) incredibly relatable and touching.
The supporting actors are phenomenal as well, as we are treated to more of actings elite. James Brolin (Traffic) adds so much class to his role, that could easily have been throwaway. Youre supposed to be rooting for Harvey and therefore despise the man who has taken his place in his daughters life, but its impossible to think that way about Brolins character. Kathy Baker (most recognized for Edward Scissorhands and TVs Picket Fences) is also supposed to be a heartless character, but in one scene with Harvey, conveys a real connection with him. Eileen Atkins (The Hours) brings such realism to the role of Kates mother, that you actually begin questioning yourself whether or not the strange Polish neighbor really is up to no good.
This is a gem of a film; a romantic comedy that also happens to be a grown-up fairy tale. Instead of teens or twenty-somethings falling in love during a party or over the course of one night, or the most Beautiful of Beautiful People finding each other under wacky circumstances, this shows that even adults can experience a connection in the real world, even after they’ve given up. Starring some of the most beloved actors of our time, Last Chance Harvey reminds us that its never too late to find happiness.
The Last Chance Harvey BD is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
An Unconventional Love Story: The Making of Last Chance Harvey – This is a cute making of. Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman had been wanting to work on a project together for a long time, they knew they had chemistry and a respect for each other already. They loved the idea of this project. 16:29
Audio Commentary with Director Joel Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman.
Trailers: Henry Poole Is Here, Sunshine Cleaning, The Visitor, Crash (The Starz Series)
This Blu-Ray release definitely doesn’t take advantage of some of the BD features. The film is gorgeous though, due to the sharp hi-def picture and the beautiful London backdrop of the film. The film itself and the experience of watching it on BD are enough to garner a recommendation from me.
Anchor Bay presents Last Chance Harvey. Directed by: Joel Hopkins. Starring: Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman. Written by: Joel Hopkins. Running time: 93 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: May 5, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: dustin hoffman, Emma Thompson, James Brolin