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Withnail & I (1987)
I'd heard this film mentioned a few times, but surprisingly I hadn't heard about just how good it was. I saw it for the first time on TV last week. I sat up to watch it and as the credits rolled I immediately found myself wanting to watch it again. Two days later I bought the DVD and I've watched it four times in one week - partly because I've been looking for distractions from studying for exams, but mainly because it's endlessly entertaining. It really is a gem, one of my favourite films now.
The script excellent. There is a perfect balance between hilarity and pathos. It's darkly funny; however, some scenes are just dark without being funny and are merely engaging. All the actors are very good but of course I can't review this without commending Richard E Grant's amazing turn as Withnail. He manages to make a belligerent, selfish drunk come across as lovable. I read that Grant is in real life a tee-totaller. Simply a great performance, no doubt about it.
In a nutshell, it is a film about life, friendship, love (I'm sure there is love), dependency, and above all, I think, being wasted - and by that I mean both excess of alcohol and the waste of talent like Withnail's. That powerful closing scene is brilliant and saddening. I've started spreading the word about this film since nobody I know has heard of it and already I've made my brother and one friend love it too. I just wish I'd watched it before now, because it seems to get better with each viewing.