A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold.
Maurice Russell, once a great actor, is now living in London in the twilight of his life. Those of his generation remember him fondly, while those in the younger generations have no idea who he is. He spends most of his time hanging out with his friends Ian, also an actor, and Donald, or visiting with his wife Valerie for who he has great affection but with who he no longer lives. His acting career is virtually over, he only taking roles on the odd occasion when he needs the money. Ian has decided to invite his young great-niece Jessie from the provinces to come and stay with him, basically to act as his caregiver in case he falls ill, but also to be his companion. He envisions listening to Bach with her and her cooking him food to which he is accustomed. Jessie's stay is nothing as he envisions. She doesn't know how to cook, she drinks all his alcohol, and she has unrealistic visions of what she will accomplish in her life. Maurice, however, sees in Jessie, a person who can help him ... Written by
The huge photograph in the newspaper of a young and gorgeous Maurice is the same picture of actor Peter O'Toole as the one featured on the front cover of the first volume of the actor's autobiography. See more »
In the newspaper fight scene in the restaurant, the waitress is seen about a foot behind Maurice as he is initially attacked. From the opposite camera angle, the waitress alternates between being missing or about ten feet away. See more »
If Peter O'Toole's mesmerizing, fearless, and endearing performance was the only positive aspect of Venus, it would still be well worth seeing.
I was pleasantly surprised that the sharp wit and general delightfulness promised by the theatrical trailer for this film delivered the goods.
Like the critically acclaimed and popular film from 2004, Sideways, this well-written bittersweet comedy celebrates what is means to be fully human by presenting us with complex, flawed characters who don't always behave the way they should- and our hearts end up bleeding for them as much when they're bad as when they're good.
With the simple story line about an aging British stage actor who develops an "interest" in his best friend's great niece, Venus artfully widens into a realistic exploration of how different relationships in our lives fulfill some needs, but not all, and how aging threatens aspects of our identity, but leaves other core pieces intact.
The scenes with "Maurice" and his actor friends are absolutely delightful and perfectly executed. The two wonderful scenes between "Maurice" and his estranged wife (a marvel of a performance by Vanessa Redgrave) are both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
The core of the story- the not-so-kosher, yet not-nearly-as-revolting as-you-might-think relationship between "Maurice" and "Jessie" (an impressive Jodie Whitaker) avoids all clichés and predictability found in Hollywood movies, and presents the viewers with a believable, engrossing slice of life, and fully invests them with an emotional stake in these characters' outcomes.
Venus is an expertly acted, beautifully written little gem that hopefully will not get lost among the more hyped (and over-blown) late year offerings. If The Academy decides to reward Mr. O'Toole with an Oscar for this performance, it will be one that is well deserved and won't be dismissed as "the sentimental choice." Treat yourself to the best adult comedy of 2006, and one of the best performances of the year.
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