24 user 16 critic

Roald Dahl's Esio Trot (2015)

A retired bachelor has a thing for his neighbour who only shows affection to her pet tortoise.


1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
... Narrator
Salo Gardner ... Mr. Mavrokoukoudopolous
... Mr. Hoppy
... Mr. Pringle
... Mrs. Silver
Polly Kemp ... Woman on Bus
Emily Ralph ... Little Girl
Geoffrey McGivern ... Pet Shop Owner (as Geoff McGivern)
... Keen Pet Shop Keeper
Joseph West ... Philip
... Philip's Mother
... Mrs. Wu (as Pik-Sen Lim)
Ronnie Hughes ... Trumpeter
Jack Honeyborne ... Pianist (as Jack Honeybourne)
... Mrs. Desmond


Lonely, ageing bachelor Mr Hoppy lives in a London flat and has two loves in his life - his balcony garden and Mrs Silver, the widow in the flat below. Sadly Mrs Silver is too fond of her tortoise Alfie to respond. Noting that Mrs Silver is perturbed that Alfie never seems to grow Mr Hoppy hatches a plan to show her how much he cares. This involves buying dozens of tortoises of increasing sizes to gradually substitute for Alfire, leading Mrs Silver to believe that a Bedouin chant - Esio Trot - is making her pet grow. However he is rumbled when one of the tortoises escapes. And, with another, brash resident vying for Mrs Silver's affections, will Mr Hoppy find happiness with the woman he loves? Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tortoise | love | bachelor | pet | flat | See All (74) »


Comedy | Family | Romance


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Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

BBC [United Kingdom]



Release Date:

18 May 2015 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

'Ахап Ереч' Роальда Даля  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?


Mr Pringle is an original character created for the movie. See more »


When Mrs Silver and Mr. Pringle come to his flat for a meal he doesn't have three wine glasses but in a later fleeting 2 or 3 second shot there are three wine glasses on the meal table. See more »


References Top Gun (1986) See more »


Hello, Dolly!
Written by Jerry Herman
Performed by Louis Armstrong
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User Reviews

a delicate amuse-gueule
8 April 2017 | by See all my reviews

A cutesy BBC TV movie of Roald's Dahl's children book, starring two titanic thespians, Mr. Hoffman and Dame Ms. Dench, it is a life-affirming romance of old age, brandishes the never-too-late-to- fall-in-love trope but outranks it with a more high-minded love-her-even-she-doesn't-love-me magnanimity, but in the end, it relents from its love-lorn tenor with a mutually love-at-first-sight happenstance.

Mr. Henry Hopper (Hoffman), moons over his neighbor one story below Mrs. Lavinia Silver (Dench), who has a pet tortoise named Alfie, but worries about its stalled growth. To win her heart, a habitually halting Mr. Hopper fabricates an incantation which he named "Esio Trot" (of Bedouin extraction) and declares that through the magic (thrice a day before meals, specifically, Ms. Silver's meals), Alfie will grow twice as big within one month, which Lavinia accepts with alacrity, she certainly is not the brightest gal in the building (but the heart wants what the heart wants). So Mr. Hopper expends his savings and time in purchasing legions of tortoises with various sizes, so that he can secretively exchange them according to their weight with their predecessor, to conjure up the weight-growing process which predictably will lead to a backfire when bills finally being spilled through a third-wheel played by Cordery with utter chutzpah.

There is hearty charm and warmth in the tall-tale, and some actions too (a septuagenarian Hoffman hanging on a make-shift ladder outside his apartment), chiefly, this adaptation pivots on a good-natured show-down between Hoffman's introvert ineptness and Dench's effusive sprightliness, to paper over the story's implausibility and its rather slipshod production design (too garish in its fairy-tale-like artificiality), and James Corden, to significantly lower the average age of the cast, assumes the job as an eloquent fourth-wall-breaking raconteur, as well as a slightly mindless father.

Steeped in Louis Armstrong's repertoire, ESIO TROT (literally "tortoise", spelt backwards, which is the linchpin of the incantation, though its logic linked to this tardy breed is a head-scratcher), is coyly nostalgic in its mawkishness being a twilight love story based on a whopper cannot even get a free pass in one's dotage, but it is so rare a movie dedicated itself to that neglected sphere of elder people's love life, garnished by two winsome performances from its eminent dab-hands, it is a delicate amuse-gueule, as often as not, can muzzle those lenient-hearted from bad-mouthing its saccharine overtone.

referential point: Dustin Hoffman's QUARTET (2012), 6.0/10

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