How About You... (2007) Poster

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9/10
A Bloody Fine Irish Comedy, This Is...
Seamus282916 February 2009
'How About You' is one of those "feel good" films from Ireland (just to let everybody know that we're not just a bunch of gloomy,depressed sods that like a good cry). Anthony Byrne directs a crackerjack cast of seasoned veterans,including Vanessa Redgrave as an over the hill actress (or so she claims),Joss Ackland as a retired judge who's chronic alcoholism brought his career crashing down early,and a cast of other fine actors & actresses playing the residents of a nursing home in the beautiful Irish countryside (filmed mostly in County Wicklow). The story concerns a young woman,who arrives at her older sister's nursing home in need of a place to live & work. As she arrives around Christmas time,most of the residents have already gone home to family, except for a scant handful miserable,cranky residents,who are nick named by the staff as "the hard core". Hayley Atwell shines as Ellie, the obviously pretty,young face,among the resident batch of sour balls, who refuses to put up with their b.s. This film reminded me a lot of the British comedy,'Experience Preferred,But Not Necessary' (which was also about a young lass who goes to work for a Summer holiday resort in the English seaside coast). If you like a light,refreshing,breezy comedy that will make you smile as you exit,then 'How About You',from 2007 may just be your cup of tea. Not rated,but contains profanity & drug humour.
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7/10
Separate tables
jotix10023 February 2009
The lonely souls that are forced to live in places like Woodlands, one imagines would be more attuned to bonding with peers and form long time friendships with similar folks in their own circumstances. Alas, the people in this lovely Irish senior center appear to be mean spirited individuals at the end of their lives. The lead bitter existences as they have no interest in mingling with people they clearly abhor.

We come into this milieu where a four of the residents don't have a place where to spend Christmas. It is Ellie, the young sister of the woman that runs the place to stay behind to take care of this quartet. When she doesn't get anywhere with them, she lets them all know how she feels about their rudeness and ill manners. Instead of angering them, she rouses them up and make them come to their senses.

The foursome consists of Donald, the retired judge, who must have things his way. Georgia, the former showgirl who loves her martinis in a certain way. The bickering sisters Heather and Hazel Nightingale complete the group. When Ellie explodes and tells them truths they haven't heard in a while, they wake up to reality. Thus, for the Christmas dinner, Ellie decides to take the residents to a nearby town to get the ingredients. Together, they will have a great time and come together in ways no one even thought possible.

Anthony Byrne directed the film, which is based on a Mave Benchley short story. He couldn't have asked for a better cast, Vanessa Redgrave, Joss Ackland, Imelda Staunton and Brenda Flicker are seen in the major parts. They are joined by Hayley Atwell who is perfect for the role of Ellie.

This film will appeal to audiences of a certain age who will appreciate the nuances in the story and will certainly enjoy the magnificent cast chosen to bring it to life.
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8/10
Surprisingly good
slake0924 December 2008
A story of four spiteful nursing home residents spending Christmas with a young hippie type of girl as their caregiver.

This overlooked holiday movie gives us some fairly memorable characters, sort of like Grumpy Old People who are stuck in a nursing home during Christmas. The young, pothead caregiver watching over them goes from apathetic to ticked off when they pull their curmudgeon routines on her.

The acting is good, atmosphere and cinematography are spot on, the whole production is as good as any large budget feature. The characters get developed during the movie, from the young girl learning to live her own life and accept some responsibility, to the old folks who learn that they can live a little while they are waiting to die.

There's a lot to like in this movie. It has some genuine holiday spirit and a decent ending. It's hard to say why more people haven't seen it because it is worth watching.
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8/10
I'll be in a home for Christmas
johno-216 February 2008
I saw this last month at the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival where it was among the 10 films selected as Audience Favorites. It features a great cast of seasoned stage and film veterans as a group of nursing home residents not fondly referred to as "The Hardcore." Well, it isn't actually a nursing home but a posh assisted living retirement home in Ireland's lovely Wicklow area. Kate Harris (Orla Brady) runs the retirement home that she started out of an old estate she bought. Her younger college dropout sister Ellie (Hayley Atwell) needs a place to live for a while so she has moved in to work as a staff member. Christmas is a time where most of the residents leave to spend time at the homes of family members except for a group of four. This dysfunctional bunch cause a lot of problems and keep the home from full residency because potential residents refuse to live under the same roof as them. Donald Vanston (Joss Ackland) was a judge whose alcoholic lifestyle forced him off the bench. Georgia Platts (Vanessa Redgrave) was once a glamorous stage and screen star who has chosen to drop out of society. Hazel Nightengale (Imelda Staunton) and her sister Heather (Brenda Fricker) are two spinster sisters who can't cope with life. Hazel is only 50 and doesn't even belong in a retirement home but can't live away from her domineering older sister Heather. Kate is suddenly called away as Christmas approaches and Ellie is left in charge of the gang of four as all the other residents and staff have left for their Christmas vacations. Additional supporting roles are the late Joan O'Hara in her final screen role as Alice Peterson, Elizabeth Moynihan as the stern Nurse Healey and Darragh Kelly as Mr. Evans, the government's mean retirement home inspector who would like to see the home shut down. Anthony Byrne directs. Jean Pasley adapts the screenplay from a short story by popular Irish writer Maeve Binchy. Veteran cameraman Des Whelan is cinematographer. Nial Byrne provided the music score. This is a good film and it's premise and cast naturally appeals to an older audience but the role of Ellie keeps things pretty hip. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10 and recommend it.
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7/10
Truffle
sergepesic21 October 2013
Grand, luxurious country squire manor turned into ritzy nursing home. Beautiful gardens, pristine river, chintzy comfortable rooms, and yet not much peace nor content. The old age is hard enough without endless regrets, ruminations on missed opportunities, and so many memories colored with dark tinges of grief. So, in this pleasant, overly sweet, albeit very enjoyable truffle of a movie, comes young rebellious women and with a bit of attention, a dollop of booze and an occasional joint, turns around few difficult residents played by masters of British acting. Of course, none of this makes any sense. But, we don't always need to be hit on a head with the truncheon of reality. It is nice to, for a split second, believe in a possibility of redemption.
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7/10
solid and touching
antoniotierno10 September 2008
I really found this story touching and heart warming; every actor is confident and seems to be suitable for the setting and ambiance. Joan O'Hara's role, as Alice - a woman on the verge of death - is probably the more moving but Hayley Atwell as well is truly confident and easy going. Overall the mood and atmosphere are lighter than expected, with humor and also some energetic parts. The beauty of the countryside and an intelligent music choice add a gentle touch to the earnestness of the characters; there are also many lyrical moments and a lively ending. Nevertheless I'd say that heartfelt performances are the best of the movie.
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6/10
Around the World
ferguson-614 December 2008
Greetings again from the darkness. Based on a short story by Maeve Binchy, this film is prevented from going too deeply thanks to the TV direction of Anthony Byrne. This one really has the feel and pace of a Hallmark Movie of the Week ... only with a really nice cast.

Hayley Atwell (The Duchess) plays Elle, the black sheep of the family, who shows up unannounced at the private retirement center her big sis owns. The home is struggling due to the rude behavior exhibited by four of the residents played by Brenda Fricker and Imelda Staunton (as sisters), Vanessa Redgrave (a former performer who longs for the spotlight again) and grumpy, lonely widower Joss Ackland (from the EverReady Bunny commercials, and for his line "Diplomatic Immunity" in Lethal Weapon 2). These four don't much like each other and certainly don't care for any others. Until ... you guessed it ... Elle reminds them what living is all about.

Must also mention a terrific supporting turn by Joan O'Hara, who brings a little wisdom and a twinkle in the eye to Elle. Sadly Ms. O'Hara passed not long after filming. I really thought Ms. Staunton stood out for her interesting portrayal of the co-dependent sister with a dark family secret. Well, at least it is dark for this film, which again, just doesn't dig too deeply into anything.

A message film with the simple message that loneliness should be avoided and don't stop living until you have taken your last breath. The title song is played at least 3 different ways in the film.
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9/10
A film for the over-40s
Jedred3312 January 2008
I have just seen How About You at its U.S. premiere as part of the 2008 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Although there are, as we've grown to expect, beautifully judged performances from Joss Ackland, Brenda Fricker, Imelda Staunton and Vanessa Redgrave, to say nothing of the up-and-coming younger actors, the highlight for me was the performance of Irish actress Joan O'Hara, whom I did not know. Ms O'Hara gave us the most beautiful, sensitive, intelligent face of a very mature woman I have ever seen, a face which the camera seemed to caress in closeup. I was saddened to learn that Joan O'Hara herself died in July 2007 and this may have been her final performance.
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4/10
Looked good, sounded good...but wasn't.
ger-591 December 2007
Very boring though I enjoyed the cinematography ... happen to know the cinematographer, Des Whelen. Wasn't expecting huge depth from a Maeve Binchy-based story but I suppose I had some fond memories of Circle of Friends. That's not to say the performances weren't good - Vanessa Redgrave performed at her usual high standard and Orla Brady has talent, but the characters/plot were not believable. I must say that I loved the Christmas music in the background. Can't trace the music... I have looked on Amazon and a few other sites but no luck. would anyone know if there is a soundtrack or would the Christmas songs be available on a DVD.
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6/10
Sweet, Relaxing.... but a serious waste of Redgrave and Staunton
darrhling18 May 2011
How About You is an uplifting little film about human interaction, but shouldn't be taken too seriously.

The film centres on the relationship between a young girl left in charge of an old people's home run by her sister. Sweet, funny moments occur, although many are predictable and overdone. The characters transform themselves far too swiftly, so the film loses in credibility. It is, nonetheless, a pleasant watch and an agreeable alternative to typical American romantic comedies.

Redgrave and Staunton deliver excellent performances as usual, but this film definitely wasn't a challenge to either. Atwell (the younger sister) was very much lacking in subtlety, although the fault may lie with the director or writer rather than the actress.

How About You should be watched as a fun way to wind down the day, but not as an example of Vanessa Redgrave and Imelda Staunton showing what they're truly capable of.

(Please take the time to say whether or not you found this review useful. Thanks.)
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3/10
Excellent Acting Wasted on Saccharine Script
"How About You..." brings together some brilliant actors to perform in a movie that is unworthy of any of them -- a Christmas fantasy about a group of ill-natured and demanding residents of a nursing home who are transformed into a loving family by a young woman who is left in charge of the place when her older sister makes an emergency trip to take care of their mother. Vanessa Redgrave and Imelda Staunton are the best known of the featured players in this movie: Redgrave as Georgia, an elderly but still beautiful former stage star, and Staunton as Hazel Nightingale, a talented artist living under the loving but oppressive supervision of her older sister. But that isn't the end of the talent. Hayley Atwell as Ellie, the trans-formative sister, and Orla Brady as Kate, the careworn elder sister, Joss Ackland as a former judge with demanding ways and a nasty temperament, and Brenda Fricker as Heather Nightingale, Hazel's older sister, all display considerable talent. But the plot is treacly and the execution is worse. I really felt sorry for the actors who deserved a lot better from the scriptwriter and the director. I haven't read the original short story by Maeve Binchy, but having seen the movie I certainly don't want to.
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8/10
Do not drop out of life before it has actually dropped you
anirban198523 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This was one of those stories where you got a hunch about the direction in which it was heading within 10 minutes of the start, and your hunch was never proved wrong. Maybe a few wobbles, but nevertheless, it remained on track throughout. So this was why I could sit back and notice every tiny detail cropping up, and I can very well claim that the execution was near faultless. So, what the hell if the story's predictable ? There's something beyond plot that impresses you in a movie and this one came out in flying colors there. The lines were perfect and they were delivered with just the right punch. The four "hardcores" let their character transformation seep in, in just the right measures, and hence the ride never seemed jerky. The editing was so crisp that just when you started seeing the danger signal and was anxious lest the movie might start dragging, the story went on to the next step. At just the right time. The tears and sentiments just stopped short at the point where you might feel it might overflow. In all, I think they ran the risk of boring the audience by taking on a story that went on a monotonic path and being well aware of this, they left nothing unturned to nullify that risk. But, it's the message behind the movie that moved me the most. For those who dread the days when they would grow old and begin to drag their dysfunctional existence, this was the movie to watch. Life does not give us the cold shoulders once we start aging, it's we who choose to go into a selfish cocoon at this time of the day ---this was a message that could do with a lot of repeating. Thus, to conclude, the bottom line is that ---Dear Mr. Prospective Viewer, please do not go into this movie expecting something vigorously original, just sit back and try to listen to what the movie has to offer: there's pieces of information there that might just come out handy.
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Great actors wasted in a trite, stupid movie
jm1070129 January 2014
I never imagined I'd see Vanessa Redgrave give a bad performance, but then I never would have imagined she'd end her career in stupid movies like How About You. What a waste of some great actors.

The story is achingly maudlin and predictable, and the dialog is corny and phony - like a sappy Lifetime TV movie larded with profanity, in which consuming cannabis is the magical solution to every problem. It's stupid.

And the song! I never hated "How About You?" until I had it force-fed to me by this movie. Sung in its entirety first by Bobby Darin over the opening credits, THEN by Redgrave in a pub; a brief ragtime version by the young sisters on a piano; and again by Redgrave and an unseen chorus at the finale. That's more than enough for a lifetime.

The director is a moron. He not only has the talent and esthetic sensibility of a soap opera hack (every stupid point he is determined to get across has to be repeated ad nauseam, to make absolutely sure that NOBODY will NOT get it), but has some kind of fetish for things drifting down out of the sky.

He has snow falling while everything is green (including the ground, where the snow evidently melts on contact, although it sits forever on actors' hair) and dead leaves drifting thickly down at Christmas-time although there's absolutely no wind to pluck them off the trees. That does not happen except in this idiot director's imagination. Trite and heavyhanded metaphors for death, maybe? Who knows. Or cares.

This dumb, irritating movie is only for folks who are either fascinated or terrified by death. People get old, they fall apart, and then they die. So what? It happens to everybody. It's happening to me now. It's perfectly natural and good, except to people in strong denial, who believe if they do everything the doctors tell them to do THEY won't die; which, of course, is a lie.

So I advise skipping this stupid movie, unless you have a death fetish that won't allow you such freedom. The only good thing about it is getting to LOOK at Redgrave, who gets more beautiful with each passing year. What a marvel she is! If only she hadn't had to say such relentlessly stupid lines she single-handedly would have made this movie worth watching.
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3/10
Residential home? More like kindergarten
areatw21 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
If a group of old age pensioners behaving like 3-year-old spoiled brats sounds like your sort of thing, then you should give 'How About You...' a try. The film centres around 4 thoroughly dislikable elderly characters in a residential home over Christmas. Their carer is forced to leave because of an emergency and leaves her novice sister in charge.

The residents behave like children, launching food and plates across the room, hurling insults at one another and throwing their toys out of the pram when they don't get their own way. Apparently, this is all supposed to be funny. It isn't.

This was, in my view, a very poorly directed movie (I mean, it is supposed to be snowing heavily in one scene and yet there is no snow anywhere on the trees or ground). I didn't like it at all.
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6/10
Alice dies too early
SnoopyStyle8 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Ellie Harris (Hayley Atwell) reluctantly returns to her sister Kate who is struggling financially with her retirement home Woodlane. Ellie is saving up to go on a trip with her friends. The home is losing staff and residents due to four particularly opinionated residents singer-dancer Georgia (Vanessa Redgrave), pianist Donald (Joss Ackland), sisters Hazel (Imelda Staunton) and Heather (Brenda Fricker). Ellie befriends lonely dying Alice and her death hits her hard. Ellie's mother has a stroke and Kate has to go to take care of her. While everyone is away, Ellie is left alone in charge with four grumpy residents.

The early death of Alice is a mistake. She represents the heart of the movie. The story feels like it has to restart after her death. It takes awhile to recover the heart. The comedic turns from the four veteran actors feel clunky. Their emotional drama feels perfunctory. Alice has a great line and should die later on to jump-start the climax. These are great actors and they have some drama to play out. However it's all rather structured and unsurprising.
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Pleasant movie centering on residents of a retirement home and their temporary caretaker.
TxMike13 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting title, I don't know if the short story it is derived from started this way, but for the movie we hear the old Sinatra recording "How About You".

The story is set in Ireland, a single lady has used her inheritance to buy her home with a larger "retirement home" building next to it. She has perhaps a dozen or so residents, older men and women who can get along fine but prefer living there to living on their own. They each have a private room, and there is a large common room for dining and relaxation.

The "problem", as it were, are a nucleus of 4 residents who virtually never leave the premises and who also have become jaded to the point where they make other residents unhappy. Some residents have actually left because of these and it seems that the retirement home is barely making enough money to stay in business. If it closes down, the 4 may not be accepted anywhere else.

Hayley Atwell is Ellie Harris, the younger sister of the retirement home owner. She has come to ask her sister for a place to stay, and a job, so that she can save enough money to take a long trip with her boyfriend and others. Ellie has some rough edges, is young and impetuous, but when their mother becomes ill and her sister has to leave right before Christmas, Ellie is pressed into service and put in charge. All the other residents left to visit friends and relatives for the holidays, but the 4 grumpy residents remained for Ellie to deal with, which was quite a handful.

A nice, smaller movie, a good diversion on a Friday night and reasonably good entertainment.

SPOILERS: After a couple of days of dealing with the crotchety 4, and trying to accommodate their whims, Ellie gets fed up and reads them the riot act. She points out how difficult they are, how they might cause the home to be closed down, and all that results in a renewed "family" atmosphere.
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10/10
A quirky film that doesn't pander to old age but displays it with compassion.
nslemmon-834-3146311 September 2010
Discovered this gem in the library's DVD collection and thoroughly enjoyed the story line and the amazing performances of the cast. It was heartwarming to have a disparate group of older people be rallied into a makeshift family by a young woman who is struggling on her own as well. Of course with the stellar cast, headed by Vanessa Redgrave, provided a realistic glimpse into ending up in an old folks home. This is an English gem that should have gotten more traction in the US! It made me laugh and sigh with the thoughts of how even a person with the most amazing life of fame and fortune will one day end up aged, looking back wistfully.
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10/10
Excellent Film
jnoller15 January 2010
I very much enjoyed this film and found it excellent. I would have preferred if the ending were better. Ellie was completely left out- there was no mention to her returning sister all the good that she did, and how Ellie was able to bring together all the folks in the nursing home- nor was it mentioned about the inspector and how they were able to win him over. It wasn't even mentioned if Ellie would return and even the Old folks never said goodbye to her. I found it a riot that Ellie supplied marijuana and marijuana spiked goodies to the nursing home folks. I loved how she assisted the dying woman earlier in the movie and was very moved by the scene by the river where she smoked weed with this kind elderly lady- and this woman opened up to her and was able to have a last moment of peace and insight before dying. Very insightful film and has depth and speaks of the human spirit and love
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7/10
Missed something
jmzalanka10 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This was an enjoyable story. I get it...the plot direction and outcome, but the editing and rapid ending left me with the feeling that about ten minutes of tying up story lines was left out. The final scene was a mess. In the scene prior, it's snowing, freezing and cold outside at Christmas, then in the final scene, the nursing home owner returns home and its Suddenly SPRING but with orange colored leaves...suggesting Fall to our visual cues. The editing choices describing the time span were peculiar. The film leaves us with the assumption that the home was "saved", more clients arrived who liked living there, and equilibrium returned. Another question unanswered was how did the paintings and drawings arrive at the Pub? So much energy was devoted on two or three occasions to find out where Redgrave's character wandered off to. Why wouldn't she just tell someone she's gone to the Pub? The actors delivered, but I'll have to go to the book for an understanding of what went on at the end. The answers are no doubt on some cutting room floor.
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could do better
selffamily18 July 2011
I hired this movie because it was Irish, because it was Binchy and because I love the actors in it. A nice if predictable little story, but I do get tired of 'how hashish saved the world' story lines - having seen how much damage it can do, my outlook is coloured. Somewhat improbably the young girl saves the day and even the grouchy inspector has a chance to shine. Why the older sister could not have brought the mother to her home baffled me and like another reviewer, there were unanswered questions. Pity really, because the viewing was pleasant but the fact remains that I was bored halfway through. Loved the 'oldies', some of the best there is.
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