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
Hanif Kureishi said that 'Junichiro Tanizaki''s novella, Diary of a Mad Old Man, is the inspiration behind the story. See more »
Maurice needs glasses to read, so it's assumed that his sight is poor. It's impossible for him to see that Jessie's new boyfriend has the same tattoo she's having done, being him across the street from the tattoo parlor. See more »
[stroking her hand]
May I ask you - have you ever been in love before?
[Jesse smiles embarrassedly, but glowingly]
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I came to this film with high expectations, having been led to believe that it dealt bravely and honestly with sexuality amongst old people. I found the acting excellent. However, the behaviour of the people in the film was frequently tawdry and exploitative. If a younger man had been shown behaving as did the character played by Peter O'Toole he would, I believe, have been recognised as the moral incompetent that he is. To expect us to sympathise with this, simply because he is old is a form of inverse ageism. The same applied to the responses of the so-called "friends" who, when he needed assistance when he was ill, were noticeable for their unwillingness to help. Again, these responses are not rendered acceptable because of the age of the characters concerned. If, on the other hand, we were supposed to find them all uncongenial - why bother at all? The transformation of the young women I found completely implausible on the evidence we were given. Disappointing.
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