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1 item from 2002

Before You Go

20 August 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Entertainment Film Distributors Ltd. and Capitol Films

The posters for "Before You Go" proclaim it to be a film from the director of "Educating Rita" and "Shirley Valentine". Certainly director Lewis Gilbert, now in his 80s, has a fine filmography. While "Before You Go" shares an actress with "Educating Rita" -- the ever-excellent Julie Walters -- the link ends there. Despite an interesting premise, "Before" just can't deliver the dramatic goods. The cast is good and the story line strong, but the elements do not come together.

Based on Shelagh Stephenson's Olivier Award-winning play "The Memory of Water", Stephenson's adaptation concerns three sisters who return home for their mother's funeral. Walters, Joanne Whalley and Victoria Hamilton play the daughters. All give impressive performances as mismatched siblings trying to come to terms with their mother's death.

As they squabble about the past, the sisters discover a tin their mother kept secretly that contains details about Whalley's illegitimate son, who had been given up for adoption. He subsequently died in an accident. The discovery has an impact on all three daughters and their various relationships with their partners.

The mother is played, in flashbacks, by an impressive Patricia Hodge. The male partners to the sisters include John Hannah and Tom Wilkinson. The similarity with "Educating Rita" lies very much in the notion of female self-understanding. While director Gilbert puts all of the elements together in a professional way, there is little dramatic depth. A fine cast makes it watchable, but the film has little else going for it.


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