Between world wars, the Whittaker's estate is sinking. Only the iron will of Mrs. Veronica Whittaker (Dame Kristin Scott Thomas) staves off bankruptcy while she awaits her son John's (Ben Barnes') return from the continent. To her dismay, he brings a bride: an American widow who races cars. The bride, Larita (Jessica Biel), thinks she and John will visit and then go to London, where he'll work and she'll race. But John is to the manor born, and mother is nothing if not a master at plans and manipulation. Soon it's all-out war between mother and bride, with John's father, Mr. Whittaker (Colin Firth), a burnt out veteran of the Great War, in the bride's corner ineffectually. Mother has a plan to join with the neighboring estate; only Larita is in her way. Can't we all get along?Written by
Brilliant, sparkling, joyful and sad, passionate and exciting, sweet and sour, elegant, refined and superbly ungraceful at the same time: contrasting adjectives are very fit for this captivating movie, which really hits the mark in a superb way. No flaw is to be found: the construction is solid and yet dynamic, highly-range acting is offered by the whole cast (but let me define Kristin Scott Thomas as sublime). The director creates a really enjoyable product, capable as it is of gaining the favour of the audience and to satisfy the viewer, both from an aesthetic and emotional point of view. The sound and authentic British humour stirring from the beginning to the end, makes one laugh but also think about the necessity to overcome a stuffy traditionalist attitude which make look back to a fossilized but no longer valid past,in order to let the new enter the scene, with all its dramatic potential of change. All certainties are questioned and prove to be dramatically frail. The conflict between the traditional English sobriety and self-control and the non-conformist American way of life gives rise to funny but also thoughtful moments of tension, subtly underlined by witty dialogues and emotionally engaging musical and dancing exchanges. A movie to be seen, heard, and enjoyed in every single part.
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