Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair visit an eccentric Indian, they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart.
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Each Thursday, a man approaching middle age calls upon his father, aged, caustic, nihilistic, and emotionally distant, perhaps from the loss of a son in the Boer War and his wife soon after. On this day, the son suggests they attend a visiting guru's lecture on the transmigration of souls. There they chat with a vicar and a soldier of fortune; dinner follows. Over glasses of Hungarian Tokay, the vicar, Dean Spanley, tells a story of friendship, freedom, and reincarnation. In what earthly way could this tale connect father and son?Written by
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Shakespeare addresses the joys of hearing the English language spoken as perfectly and beautifully as every actor does in this thoroughly delightful film DEAN SPANLEY: 'Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.' Based on the novel 'My Talks with Dean Spanley' by the colorful writer Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, July 24, 1878 in London, England, UK - October 25, 1957 (age 79) in Dublin, Ireland) and adapted for the screen with great dexterity and gentility by Alan Sharp, the story is a study in the meaning of reincarnation in the most delightful sense of the term!
Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior (Peter O'Toole) is caustic, nihilistic has little time or affection for his son Fisk Junior (Jeremy Northam) - they visit only on Thursdays and then in only the most routine of circumstances: even the housekeeper Mrs. Brimley (Judy Parfitt) knows to only fix one boring Hot Pot for them to eat. Fisk Senior seems to have placed all his hopes on his other son who was killed in the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. Fisk Junior encouraged by his friend Wrather (Bryan Brown) breaks tradition and takes his father to a talk by the guru Nawab of Ranjiput (Ramon Tikaram) where they hear about the Indian concept of reincarnation and the inferiority of cats. The lecture is attended also by a vicar named Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) and what follows is a series of conversations and revelations over glasses of Tokay that seem to open up the vicar's remembrance of past lives - a fact that eventually relates to Fisk Senior and manages to change the grumpy old man's outlook on life.
Directed by Toa Fraser with terrific atmosphere and Edwardian elegance, the actors are all superb, but one of the most satisfying aspects of this film is simply hearing a screenplay of perfect English spoken symphonically. It is a thoroughly delightful film on every level. Highly Recommended.
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