‘Last Chance Harvey’

‘They don’t make movies like they used to.’ That cliche usually tips a screed on unintelligent, adolescent, scatological flicks in contrast to the Golden Age’s smart, adult, clean cinema.

Leaving aside the thousands of crap movies we’ve (thankfully) not seen from the ‘30s and ‘40s, the fact is there are raft of intelligent, adult entertainments being made today.

Last Chance Harvey’ (2008) is a very good one. It’s a warm tale of an August (Emma Thompson) – November (Dustin Hoffman) romance set against the marriage of Harvey’s estranged daughter in London. The story has numerous opportunities for embarrassing comedy, all of which it passes up. It also avoids stereotyping ‘villains’ – even Harvey’s ex-wife and her husband come off well. It’s just a nice story beautifully filmed.

Dustin Hoffman seems to play very well with strong leading ladies. Emma Thompson is no exception. Together and apart, they shine. The supporting cast, led by Eileen Atkins, do their jobs well. A fine ensemble.

‘Last Chance Harvey’ is exactly the kind of movie we imagine they made routinely years ago. Hooray!