Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people's home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family ... See full summary »
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Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten year old boy growing up in an old people's home run by his parents. Whilst his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the onset of mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward's is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. Is Anybody There? tells the story of this odd couple - a boy and an old man - facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment and Clarence coming to terms with the past. Written by
Leslie Phillips spoke out against this film after is was released, as he said it had been completely changed from the story he and the other elderly actors were making about an old people's home, in order to concentrate on the relationship between Michael Caine and the boy. See more »
Some think the father's mustache at the party is a continuity error as he shaved it off that morning. However, it is a fancy dress party and the father is clearly wearing a fake mustache to go with his costume. See more »
I'd like to come back as a badger.
They're bad-tempered, but they look good - and you can make sporrans out of badgers.
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Most great actors when they feel they have amassed a distinguished body of work tend to rest on their laurels and just churn out pretty bog standard stuff in their later years. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro seem to be doing it of late with "Hide & Seek" and "88 Minutes" not to mention their joint effort "Righteous Kill" while Laurence Olivier long ago pioneered the process with such beauties as "The Jazz Singer" and "The Betsy". Michael Caine however seems to have gone the opposite route. While his long career is dotted with some minor classics it is also flooded with some major turds. In fact between "Sleuth" (1972) and "Sleuth" (2007) there has been "The Man Who Would Be King" "Hannah And Her Sisters" - "Mona Lisa" but there has also been "The Hand" "The Swarm" "Jaws: The Revenge" - "Blame It On Rio" (a lot of)etc. Recently though Michael Caine clearly feels he has his money made and can afford to be to be a lot more selective in his choice of roles. He has had a consistent run of well received performances in well-received films and has become an integral part of the revitalised Batman franchise. His latest choice is possibly one of his best performances. In "Is Anybody there" he plays "The Amazing Clarence" a former magician who is forced by increasing dementia to move into a nursing home, very much against his will. The nursing home is also home to 10 year old Edward whose parents own and run the place. He is just as unhappy to be there as Clarence is and inevitably a prickly friendship develops between the (very) cantankerous old man and the (very) cheeky young boy. Edward is fascinated with death and ghosts, hardly surprising given his environment and Clarence teaches him magic tricks to try and pull him out of this morbidity and encourages him to make friends with kids his own age. Indeed Edward does start to impress his class-mates with his magic tricks (particularly the ones involving fire) and he decides to have a birthday party at the home with Clarence as the entertainment. But Clarence's Alzheimers is getting worse and he is becoming more and more forgetful, when it matters most. This is a beautifully acted film by both Caine and Bill Milner as Edward. Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey perform solidly as the parents while the residents of the home are played by a number of established faces including Leslie Phillips as a man with a passion for telling very dirty jokes particularly to members of the clergy. The film is full of dark humour but is never patronising and frequently very moving. While Clarence's decline is a bit rapid - more of a plummet into full senility than a descent - it is still very well handled and ultimately leads to a very touching finale.
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