Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Last Chance Emma

Emma Thompson hasn't had much luck with her on-screen lovers. Maybe it's something about that slightly nasal voice that makes directors cast her as forever settling for second best or overlooking obvious drawbacks.

She hit an all-time low as as Carrington, in love with gay Bloomsbury-ite Lytton Strachey.

When asked 'How can you live with such a revolting pervert?' she simply rolled her eyes, and said, 'Well, there's always something to put up with in a man'

In Last Chance Harvey it's the (at least) 20-year age gap between her and Dustin Hoffman that's the drawback. He's 71, which I know from watching him on the Jonathan Ross show. The film publicity, however, says musician Harvey and airport employee Kate are 'two middle-aged losers who find romance by the Thames'

They seem to walk for hours along the South Bank without actually getting anywhere.

Well, to be fair she does spend some of the time in her 'writing class' which meets on successive days in The National Theatre. ( I'll ring them up later, and ask how much the sessions cost.)

It redeemed a film whose only asset apart from Eileen Atkins playing Kate's comic mother, was the scenery, with side visits to Trafalgar Square and Somerset House.

'How was your class?' says Hoffman.

'Oh, the usual - Mike read out an extract from his psycho-sexual saga.' Pause whilst she does her signature wry grin and eye-rolling, then adds 'He's 86!'

I'll overlook the agism because later we do actually get to see and hear said Mike reading his extract. That, for me, is much better than the one where Emma tries on a succession of dresses to kit her out for Hoffman's daughter's the wedding reception.

The try-on scene is surely completely played out now - the fact that it's speeded up here seems to hint at that. What we could do with is more writing class scenes. Besides, it would make much more sense, as she doesn't mind the age gap, for aspiring writer Kate to settle for octogenarian Mike. At least they'd have something in common.

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