Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Last Chance Harvey

Year 2, Day 54 - 2/23/10 - Movie #419

BEFORE: Unlikely (?) Romance week continues - they say love is where you find it, or in this case, when.

THE PLOT: In London for his daughter's wedding, a rumpled man finds his romantic spirits lifted by a new woman in his life.

AFTER: From Streisand movies to a film with Barb's husband, James Brolin, in a small role. Hey, I'll take whatever connections I can get at this point...

Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is a music composer for commercials, who's having a rough time as he travels to London for his daughter's wedding - he's having work troubles, he has to see his ex-wife with her husband (Brolin) - plus he's jetlagged and cranky, as most people get when traveling - then he gets hit with the news that his daughter would rather have her stepfather walk her down the aisle. Ouch. This is a man disconnected from most of society, including his own family.

In the midst of all this, he (nearly) encounters Kate (Emma Thompson) a few times, and is in fact rude to her at first - she's one of those survey-takers at Heathrow airport, so who can blame him? But after a cancelled flight lands him at the airport lounge, Harvey chats up Kate and they become intrigued with each other.

Their subsequent daytime walk across London is just as improbable as the long night seen in "Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist" - they take buses and subways, she goes to her writing class, they stop for a drink, and somehow at the end of this 17-hour encounter, they realize that Harvey's daughter's wedding reception is still going on, and they decide to attend. After an improbably quick dress-selection montage...

You know what, the timeline doesn't matter. This is a charming, simple little film. Two people meet and get along - it's the essence of every romantic story, and sometimes the simplest stories contain the most essential truths. Being with Kate gives Harvey the confidence he needs, and vice versa - since Kate is a social misfit in her own way, so used to romantic failure that she's not quite sure how to handle a success.

So let's review what we've learned this month - love comes to teens, CPA's, sporting-goods store owners, college students, music composers, cops, film editors, writers and musicians of any age. The trick is recognizing it and taking that leap when it comes along...and it's kind of refreshing to see people of a certain age making a connection, in a way that's very realistic and not madcap.

Also starring Kathy Baker and Richard Schiff -

RATING: 7 out of 10 trashy novels

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