6.7/10
1,809
27 user 15 critic

A Handful of Dust (1988)

PG | | Drama, Romance | 24 June 1988 (USA)
The wife's affair and a death in the family hasten the demise of an upper-class English marriage.

Director:

Charles Sturridge

Writers:

Evelyn Waugh (novel), Tim Sullivan (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Wilby ... Tony Last
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Brenda Last
Richard Beale Richard Beale ... Ben
Jackson Kyle Jackson Kyle ... John Andrew
Norman Lumsden Norman Lumsden ... Ambrose
Jeanne Watts Jeanne Watts ... Nanny
Kate Percival Kate Percival ... Miss Ripon
Richard Leech ... Doctor
Roger Milner Roger Milner ... Vicar
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Richard Last
Anjelica Huston ... Mrs. Rattery
Rupert Graves ... John Beaver
Judi Dench ... Mrs. Beaver
Pip Torrens ... Jock
Beatie Edney ... Marjorie
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Storyline

We see the detritus of an abandoned camp in South America and a main character's hallucination. Then, the story begins. Tony (James Wilby) and Brenda Last (Dame Kristin Scott Thomas), lord and lady, live on his enormous estate with their young son. Tony's not much for parties, and Brenda joins London society, on the arm of a penniless man, John Beaver (Rupert Graves), a hanger-on at Tony's club. John is encouraged by his entrepreneurial mother, Mrs. Beaver (Dame Judi Dench), who sees a quid in Tony and Brenda. Brenda and John become lovers, Brenda spends more and more time in London, and Tony's without a clue. Then, bringing things to a head are tragedy, law suits, greed, and what should be a few-months' expedition to Brazil. We are each of us merely a handful of dust. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie got Oscar nominated in one category for the Best Costume Design Academy Award in 1989, but lost out to Dangerous Liaisons (1988), with both movies having George Fenton as the music composer. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Todd: Let us read "Little Dorrit" again. There are passages in that book that I can never hear without the temptation to weep.
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Connections

Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

King Of Love My Shepherd Is
(uncredited)
Traditional Irish melody
Words by Henry W. Baker (1868)
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User Reviews

 
Haven't read the book
1 August 2008 | by newday98074See all my reviews

A really good book cannot be entirely simulated adequately on screen. There is too much going on underneath, too many subplots, too much conversation and description to undertake in two hours. Choices made by production folk determine which direction the film will go, generally accenting one plot line of or other and allowing the rest to fall to the wayside. HOD does a fine job with the route it takes, darkly stating the consequences of empty lives which rely on artifice for sustenance. These creatures were not creating their lives so much as feeding their idea of existence without exploration. The result is tragedy but the tragedy was already in existence. The actions of the trapped subjects simply began to reflect their emptiness. This doesn't make for a happy movie but it is instructive if one chooses to see the lessons. And as art, the acting, direction and cinematography are quite fine.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$35,470, 26 June 1988

Gross USA:

$1,560,700

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,560,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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