Harvey Shine is in London for the weekend for his daughter's wedding. His work in New York preoccupies him: he writes music for ads, and he knows his boss is pushing him aside for younger talent. With family he's also on the sidelines - long divorced, his wife remarried, her husband closer to his daughter than he. His path crosses that of Kate Walker, unmarried, her life becoming that of a spinster, set up by friends on blind dates leading nowhere. After Harvey's no good terrible day, he chats Kate up at a Heathrow bar. She's not interested. Where can this conversation lead? Back at his daughter's reception, the step-father rises to give a toast. Written by
The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. See more »
After Harvey gets back from taking the business phone call at the dinner the length of his tie is wrong, the little end sticking out from under the thicker end. When is flashes back to Harvey the tie is fixed. See more »
I can't get over the fact that at 71 1/2 and with over 40 movies under his belt, Dustin Hoffman repeatedly gave the impression at the Q&A of someone who grappled with a struggling career. "Why don't they writes roles for people my age?" he vented. He worked for ten years as a waiter before his career took off and he said, "The feeling of being a failure never quite leaves you." I found this interesting, especially since I consider him one of the great actors of our time.
He said that he enjoyed working with Emma Thompson on Stranger Than Fiction. They had two scenes together, one of which was cut severely. It was Emma who had the connection to writer/director Joel Hopkins and he developed this script with both actors in mind.
On to the review of the film: Finally a movie that doesn't pull any punches and is honest as well as enjoyable. The setting of London is glorious and the moments of humor in this drama are well placed. Since the movie was hand-crafted for the two leads, it felt natural. Even before knowing that, I thought it wouldn't have worked half as well without these two actors (Hoffman/Thompson).
The movie is about a man who goes to London for his daughter's wedding. He hasn't been close to her for the last several years. In a moving scene with Emma Thompson, he explains how it happened so gradually that one day he just wasn't part of her life. To make matters worse, he is an embarrassment to the family and finds himself one prickly situation after another. He just can't win.
It progresses and ends with a satisfying amount of closure. With all the disappointing films today and so much advertising being spent on films without a decent script, it's a shame that this one will most likely go unnoticed by a lot of people. If you get the chance and have any interest, I highly recommend it.
In closing, Dustin talked about the directors he wanted to work with: P.T. Anderson and Scorsese. He admired Brando's working relationship with Kazan. He also liked Martin McDonagh's film In Bruges, which leads us to the actors he said he admired. He was on a roll: Ralph Fiennes, Bruno Ganz, "Seymour" Hoffman, Sean Penn, Ginger Rogers in 5th Ave Girl, Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, Russell Crowe in Body of Lies, the casts of The Lives of Others, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, and both sisters in Rachel Getting Married. Whew!
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