Movie Review – last Chance Harvey Gets Quality Acting, But Suffers From Writerdirectors Effort-shishangqiyi

Arts-and-Entertainment Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley Last Chance Harvey – 2 Stars – Average Is it possible for your two leads to be nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress Golden Globe Awards and yet your magnum opus is average at best? Yes it is, especially if your leads are Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and the writer/director of the film is Joel Hopkins. Then you have the makings of "Last Chance Harvey". This film is far too dark and depressing to be a romantic comedy, it feeds off of more negative than positive energy. Last Chance Harvey is no misnomer. Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is a preoccupied person who is not comfortable to be around and hardly likeable. Most of his time is spent bemoaning his condition in life. His wife dumped him years ago. His dream job was to be a jazz pianist, but he settled for a job as jingle writer for a Manhattan advertising firm, which is about to dump him for younger talent. His wife remarried, and his daughter is closer to her step-dad than him. Harvey has made a career of being absent by choice. Now he travels to London for his daughter’s wedding and gets a very cold reception from his ex and everyone who counts. He becomes a disaster at the rehearsal dinner, can’t wait to leave London, and informs his daughter that he will not be attending the wedding reception. Unfortunately for Harvey, he gets caught in a traffic jam, misses his flight, and is promptly informed that he has been fired. He finds solace in a bar after forcing himself on Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), a survey taker who has never married and is now concerned that she will become a spinster. Long story short, these two losers find just enough in each other to tolerate being together. In short order, Kate convinces Harvey to attend his daughter’s wedding reception and he agrees as long as she accompanies him. Long story even shorter, they almost have a great time at the reception and agree to meet at noon the next day. It this scenario sounds familiar, just think "An Affair to Remember". Harvey, of course, doesn’t make the rendezvous because the elevator is broke at his hotel, he runs up the steps, has an attack of arrhythmia and is off to the hospital. Kate waits dutifully and is crushed when Harvey no shows, just like a sappy teen-aged girl. It never occurs to her that Harvey might have been run over by a Mack truck on his way to meet her; she assumes the worst because she follows miserable results like stepping in quicksand. Does it all work out in the end? What do you think? This is the reason you watch the film, such as it is. It is not the acting that makes Last Chance Harvey an average film, it is the writer/director Joel Hopkins. Trust me when I say that Hopkins did his best to make this film an artistic and financial winner. In the end, it becomes neither. Last Chance Harvey reminds me of a film Jack Nicholson made named "About Schmidt" that is just terrible. As a movie buff and movie reviewer, I am into relationship pictures, human dynamics and the psychology of living and existing. Both Harvey and Kate as characters are written as people who exist, moan and complain rather than choosing to live a better life. It is a good thing that they found each other because misery does love company. Harvey is simply not likeable as a character, and Kate is not much better. Last Chance Harvey made $14 million at the box office; hardly a rip-roaring success. Other than the two Golden Globe nominations for Hoffman and Thompson (neither won), award givers avoided this film like the plague. Hopkins lacks experience as a writer or a director, and has courted failure by trying to become both the writer and director. I am sure his ego did not give him much choice in the matter. For every wannabe that thinks they can make great films as a writer/director, there are at least 10 more who fail miserably. Job one for Joel Hopkins is to learn how to become a good storyteller. Hopkins should study "Waking Ned Devine" by Kirk Jones and "Secondhand Lions" by Tim McCanlies. Both Jones and McCanlies are on the top of my list of great writer/directors, and neither had much experience when their talent was evident. Waking Ned Devine was Kirk Jones’ first effort as a writer/director, and Secondhand Lions was Tim McCanlies’ second effort as a writer/director. If I had millions to invest, I would fund both Jones and McCanlies, get out of the way, and watch magic happen on the big screen. In all likelihood, Hopkins has more talent than we have seen; he just needs to continue improving and hone his craft. And here is a postscript to start with—never name a character in a depressing movie Harvey Shine, because Harvey does anything but shine, and we are reminded about it throughout the entire movie. About the Author: "A Christmas Story" – "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" – "Secondhand Lions" – "The Chorus (Les Choristes in French)" – "Waking Ned Devine" – "Chariots of Fire" – "Steel Magnolias" – "Chocolat" and "Radio" These are all excellent films. 相关的主题文章: