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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
Shame on all of those who gave most of the plot away. This is a worthwhile film, one I have seen at least twice and will watch any time it is on. True, I am a fan of Alan Rickman, but it goes beyond that. As a slice of British theatre life it is up there with "The Dresser" and is about as depressing. A romp it is not, but so what? Was it marketed badly? Yes, perhaps. But it is well acted, tightly directed and even fun to watch at times. It doesn't end well, but as Brad Pitt said in character in "The Devil's Own" ... "this isn't an American story." Hooray for that.
As a character study of several people, it is about as good as it gets, although I might want a little more depth, especially on Rickman's character. He is gentlemen enough to be destroyed by what he does in the end and it enobles his character. I enjoyed watching Hugh Grant, who is a delightful man in person and not quite the twit he often plays, cast against type as a nasty, bitchy queen. Yeah, he can act. So what if they pay him a lot of money to be himself, more or less, most of the time? When pressed, he can deliver.
If you like Grant and Rickman, you can't go wrong. If you like dark stories of behind-the-scenes theatre life, this is a good 'un for you. And young Ms. Cates, married to Skeet Ulrich gives a great performance, even if she had to lie her way into the part.
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