Harvey Shine is in London for the weekend for his daughter's wedding. His work in New York preoccupies him: he writes music for ads, and he knows his boss is pushing him aside for younger talent. With family he's also on the sidelines - long divorced, his wife remarried, her husband closer to his daughter than he. His path crosses that of Kate Walker, unmarried, her life becoming that of a spinster, set up by friends on blind dates leading nowhere. After Harvey's no good terrible day, he chats Kate up at a Heathrow bar. She's not interested. Where can this conversation lead? Back at his daughter's reception, the step-father rises to give a toast.Written by
"Last Chance Harvey" would have made a great short subject. As it is, the feature length film clocks in at a mere 90 minutes or so, but I'm not sure there was really enough material to warrant even that brief running time.
But whatever the film's shortcomings are in substance are more than made up for by the ample talents of its two stars, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. They do a tremendous amount with what they're given, and they surprisingly have a lot of chemistry together playing two middle-aged sad sacks who reignite a spark of joy in their lives when they meet and strike up a romance. Hoffman especially does fine work. I suspect his part was much more difficult to play than he makes it look, as he has to convey a huge amount of history about Harvey in a small amount of time, both making us understand why his family has had it with him and why someone like Thompson would fall for him.
This movie is a lesson in how any film's ultimate success can rely almost exclusively on the actors cast in it.
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