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Set right after World War II, a naive teenage girl joins a shabby theatre troupe in Liverpool. During a winter production of Peter Pan, the play quickly turns into a dark metaphor for youth as she becomes drawn into a web of sexual politics and intrigue. Written by
A convoluted but cogent look at theatre and actors
The real hub around which this movie moves is not Hugh Grant or Alan Rickman but Georgina Cates as Stella, an unpaid sixteen year old student who is not only stagestruck but enamored of Meredith Potter (Hugh Grant), the cruel and thoughtless director who is more interested in boys.
Stella, ignorant of most of life, is unaware of his predilictions and so ill-informed she is afraid she might have a venereal disease from touching a man with her hand. Having been abandoned by her mother (who is the voice on the phone giving the time), she is being raised by her aunt and uncle, well-meaning people who love her but have no idea of what to do with her or tell her. Eventually she is seduced by P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman), who has come to Liverpool to play Captain Hook but also to once again look for the woman who bore him a child many years before. He imagines he has a son and that belief allows him to continue, despite his lack of self worth.
He eventually succumbs to his own predilictions when he pursues Stella. She, having no idea of sex other than as something to be done to her, is a slow learner but eventually says that like "learning a ukelele, it takes practice." The Grant character is so thoroughly despicable it proves once and for all that Hugh Grant can, in fact, act. Rickman gives a well done, mostly underplayed performance, not even having a line in the first four scenes he is in. Georgina Cates is the real jewel here, with a combination of naivete and boldness, along with a girlish charm which makes Stella believable as well as pathetic. Not the greatest movie made but a well done, well cast piece of work by professionals with a sense of purpose. See it! But not for the children.
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