Local Hero (1983) Poster

(1983)

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10/10
Pure magic...
Maryte8 January 1999
I have no idea what provoked me to see this film in the theatre lo those many years ago, but I am grateful to the serendipity which has brought this piece of magic into my life. I am constantly amazed that a piece of fiction (and not even a written one) could have such an impact on my heart and soul.

From the edgy humor of Happer's encounters with his analyst (I will always consider this to be Mr. Lancaster's most charming performance in a body of excellent work) to the poignant scene in which (an albeit drunken) Mac confesses his coveting Gordon's life, this film draws me in like no other. Whenever I am asked my favorite film, I answer Local Hero without hesitation - there is never a question of its position on my list.

I must confess, I am surprised there are no other reviews of Local Hero by women. I've always found the lyrical nature of the film to have a distinctly female sensibility. But on the other hand, I don't know any other women beyond myself who have seen it (or recall having seen it). The best recommendation I can make for this film is, when I find the world closing in on me, I watch Local Hero. I smile. I laugh. I even cry a bit. But most importantly, I come away knowing that I might someday find that very possible magic in my life.
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10/10
Quirky brilliance
fdtate26 May 2002
Some may be turned off by the apparent disregard of plot. Amazing characters, scenery and music make this a truly brilliant movie. It's a movie that may not be fully appreciated until you've seen it three or four times. Burt Lancaster steals the show in a small role. Peter Riegert is perfectly cast as a lost American who finds a place where he belongs. The memorable scenes are countless: the aurora borealis show, the eccentric beachcomber who offers to sell for a dollar per grain of sand in his hand, the injured rabbit, Riegert proposes to trade places with Gordon, etc., etc., etc. Mark Knofler's music is worth the price of admission alone. Definitely one of my all-time favorites.
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10/10
A captivating sleeper.
SquirePM21 July 1999
I first saw this movie 1,000 miles from home. I was on business, staying in an outlying hotel, no car, no evening plans. So I walked 1/2 mile to a local 2-plex (!) theater. The choices were Max Dugan Returns and, starting 15 minutes later, Local Hero. The theater manager said the first one was a real good comedy, and he didn't know what Local Hero was about. I said I'd start with Dugan and switch if I didn't like it, and he said OK.

The Neil Simon, Jason Robards, Marsha Mason movie was ho-hum, totally predictable, formula claptrap, so I ducked into Local Hero.

WHAT A SURPRISE !!!

I was alone in the theater, laughing continuously, thrilled by this wonderful movie. What a joy!

When I left, still smiling, the manager asked me how I liked it. I told him it was a sure Oscar winner (wrong, alas) and the best film I'd seen in years. He was amazed. I hope he sat in on it. I hope you do too.

Here's the key - - EVERY TIME I encounter this movie on TV I stop what I'm doing and watch it. I once arrived at a hotel after midnight, tired and with a meeting at 8:00 am. I flipped on the TV while I unpacked and there it was, just a little past the beginning. I sat on the end of the bed for an hour, then pulled up a chair. I finished unpacking when it was over!

Just whose baby is that, anyway? You'll find out! {:-)
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10/10
A Classic From (But Not Of) the 80's
Darryl Cox (DD-931)22 December 2002
I consider this one of the 10 best movies I've ever seen (and to paraphrase John Cleese from LIFE OF BRIAN, I've seen a few). It is definitely the funniest movie of the 80's, just ahead of RAISING ARIZONA. And although LOCAL HERO and RAISING ARIZONA are quite dissimilar films, they do share one distinction: they were both made in the 80's, yet they go totally against the grain of movies made during that decade. All the shallow, cheap, go for the simple-minded lowest common denominator audience garbage that was so much a part of the 80's is missing here.

What is most special about LOCAL HERO to me is how it not only respects it's audience, but seems to show an against-all-odds affection for humanity that INCLUDES the audience. Bill Forsyth cares about every character that inhabits his film, and in a very gentle, open-handed way he seems to want to share his characters with the audience so that the audience might see the best of themselves in some aspect of those characters.

I can understand why Forsyth didn't develop into a major moviemaker in Hollywood, in the same way that I can understand why some people find this movie boring. But somehow, to me, keeping this movie alive along with all its' other fans is part of a cockeyed optimism about people that, these days, seems to be very much against-the-grain.
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10/10
A Wonderful Wonderful Movie
Paul-15327 January 2002
I really cannot praise Local Hero enough; it is simply one of the best films ever made and certainly, without any shadow of doubt, my number one favourite movie of all time. Fans of Ealing Comedy will relate to this film instantly. The humour is extremely subtle, going for the quirkiness of human behaviour rather than prefabricated belly-laughs. For example, the two farmers arguing which is the better vehicle for transporting winter lambs, Massarati or Rolls Royce. And the African preacher who has to explain that he's "not Scottish either" but still has the surname McPhearson. At first glance, the story of Local Hero is hardly one which would engage fevered interest. A big Texan oil company wants to buy a huge chunk of Scottish coastline and a representative is flown over to close the deal. Chosen because it's thought he is of Scottish origin, McIntyre (Peter Riegert) complains to a colleague that he could do the deal over the wires in an afternoon and that his parents chose the surname when they got off the boat from Hungary because they thought it sounded American. But what grabs the attention and is the fundamental beauty to the film is "Mac's" journey from a materialistic Texan yuppie to one who falls in love with the simple things of life and by the film's end, when Mac returns home, has been changed forever by his trip.

Mac plays his part very well from a character who depends on his expensive suits, his Porsche, quad hi-fi and personal health insurance to one who collects shells on a Scottish beach and drinks 40 year-old malt whisky in the bosom of the small community that he suddenly finds himself a part of. Burt Lancaster plays the wonderfully eccentric oil company CEO who is more concerned with dicovering a comet of his own than making millions of dollars. Then of course there is Denis Lawson as the estate agent / taxi driver / hotelier, Peter Capaldi as the bungling company trainee and Jenny Seagrove who prefers being underwater to life on land, along with all the various yokels and locals that give this film its very unique charm. And the plot twist? A fabulously subtle one-liner that gives the whole thing away. But of course, one cannot talk about this movie without mentioning the soundtrack. Many years ago I felt compelled to watch this movie because (being a big Dire Straits fan at the time) i had the soundtrack and was instantly hooked. Mark Knopfler does sterling work in adding musical flavour to the film. Lazy acoustic guitars match perfectly the breath-taking scenary that the director, Bill Forsyth, has captured of the Scottish Highlands. Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this film to people. Every recommendation I've made has been met with the same response: a gem of a movie that simply cannot be ignored. Local Hero will be my own personal number one for ever!

10/10
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10/10
Simply the best, perfect little film ever made.
finnigan224 April 2001
A real sleeper of a movie. I rented it without knowing anything about this film beforhand and was taken prisoner from start to finish. I honestly didn't want the movie to end. Full of interesting and amusing characters, a terrific musical score, wryly satirical without being demeaning of anyone; it invites you into a totally believable world where you begin to care about the fate of everyone and there are no false notes in the script, direction or performances.

If anyone ever doubted the importance of a screenplay in the success of a movie or thought that a big budget, lots of pyrotechnics and loads of special effects could cover up a movie's shortcomings - see this film. It should be required at all film schools as an example of what can be accomplished on a little budget but with good ideas and lots of talent. A perfect 10 - times 2!
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nothing else like it
poldy11235811 September 2004
There's the great movies with a capital "M" (Casablanca, Strangelove, Kane) and then there's the great movies which feel like they've been made for the deepest, quietest, quirkiest parts of you and you alone - the small gems. And this one, in my view, is the sparkliest of these gems - a little masterpiece of a rumination on just how beautiful things can be when disparate paths in life intercept each other just the tiniest bit out of phase, never perfectly according to plan, and on how the deepest transformations seem to proceed from the smallest disjoints of orientation and expectation. It is a beautiful dollhouse of a film, whose success lies in its excruciating attention to and understatement of detail. Beautiful Mark Knopler strains suffuse the film's quieter moments, while subtle performances and simply lovely dialogue provide the backbone.
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10/10
All-time favorite movie
kingbad10 May 1999
Simply my favorite movie ever. Never fails to warm my heart, even after many, many viewings. Beautifully written, filmed, acted- everything works. I loved the whole movie, but especially the last scene. It just sums up the whole movie for me- friendship, not the material, is ultimately all that matters.

Great writing; a dozen well-developed characters. Gentle good humor, without demeaning anyone. A beautiful score, that fit the mood of the movie perfectly. Can't say enough about this movie- see it, see it, see it!
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10/10
Nobody does it better than the Brits.
negevoli-4420 June 2000
This cinematic piece of enchantment has been aptly praised in the other reviews preceding this one. I really didn't know what to expect when I saw this on cable, but it became an instant favorite. It is so true, so touching, that I felt pangs of sadness when it came to an end. A hopeful end, to be sure. I used to wonder about the casting of Peter Riegert in the lead (I think Dennis Leary would have been perfect in this role). But after several viewings, I have grown to like and appreciate Riegert's performance very much. (I'm one of those superficial twits who perfer good-looking leading men like Sam Neill and Brad Pitt.) And Riegert's non-Scottish appearance is taken care of in the script. Any movie that can raise the consciousness of its audience without preaching is a rarity, and this beautiful film manages to do just that. Certainly one of the best films ever made.
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10/10
Technophile goes to remote village and finds the real world.
Brenda Lester20 March 2004
What a lovely, quiet film this is. Mac personifies modern man--out of touch with nature,out of touch with his own soul, who needs "electricity" to function. He is all technology of that period. Although he is a "telex man" (this was before the computer-cellphone era), he reluctantly goes in person to buy a village in a remote area of Scotland for the glory of oil production. The place he finds is paradise. No urban sprawl. No locked doors. Gradually, Mac is seduced by nature, which culminates in the death of his electronic watch--it drowns in a tidal basin after he removes it in order to collect sea shells. By degrees, he sheds his identity, represented by his business suit and fashionable shoes, and becomes a beachcomber. He is amazed when he sees the Northern Lights for the first time, a celestial phenomenon the locals take for granted. Mr. Happer the president of Knox Oil and Gas, is Mac's opposite--Happer inherited the family oil business and has done well, but his eyes are on the stars, the things of nature. He allows others to run the company while he watches the sky in search of comets. What makes a film memorable are great moments, and this film is a series of great moments that stay with you long after the film is over. I will offer no plot summary. You must see this magical film for yourself. But be forewarned: if you are in love with all that modern technology can offer, you will not like this film. You may find it too slow; too outdated; too sentimental. But, if (like me)you yearn to be away from the horror that modern technology has created in us and around us, you will love and dream of your own remote village by the sea. And it is very funny, too. Wonderful characters.
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