In London for his daughter's wedding, a struggling jingle-writer, Harvey Shine, misses his plane to New York, and thus loses his job. While drowning his sorrows in the airport pub, Harvey meets Kate, a British government worker stuck in an endless cycle of work, phone calls from her mother, and blind dates. A connection forms between the unhappy pair, who soon find themselves falling in love.
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There are times where the actors make the movie. This is one of those times. The film has a fairly simple story. It consists of a guy named Harvey Shine and a woman named Kate. Harvey goes to London for his daughterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wedding. It feels like like work has always controlled his life, and it has cost him his family. Harvey has made sacrifices, but is paying the consequences. Kate is stuck at the airport asking flyers questions as soon as they get off the plane. Her mother is always calling nonstop because she is lonely too. The worst part of it is she gets set up on blind dates that never turn out good. Never. So, after Harvey misses his plane, it costs him his job. By the way, his daughter wants her step-father to give her away at her wedding. So on perhaps the worst day of his life, Harvey meets Kate.
It is the chemistry between Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson that makes this film enjoyable to watch. Hoffman is a charming guy and he brings that charm to the character of Harvey. He knows he has not been a great father, but heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s trying. Thompson always has this innocence about her. She comes across sweet, but rational. Of course, they were both blessed with a sense of humor. The story itself is a lot like the romantic comedies we see. And the story is pretty cliche and can be predictable. However, you find yourself paying more attention to what Hoffman and Thompson are doing and not worrying about how it will end, or you just do not care. The performances in this movie make it better than it should have been. But that says a lot about Hoffman and Thompson and how good they really are.
At The Movies
Last Chance Harvey (PG) * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
No one said itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to connect with members of the opposite sex. Take it from experience finding love can be a trying experience. Old folks and young ones will find lots to chew over concerning the day to day existence of one loner in Last Chance Harvey, a case study in problem living from Alliance Films now
on view at Tinseltown (on Pender, free parking) and Empire Studio 12.
Three cheers for Harvey Shine, a possible three time loser. Being from New York this modern male makes a living in the music field. Or so he thought. Once you hit that proverbial 50 some say youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re on a downward swing. Trouble at work can lead to any number of reactions. Amidst this professional chaos Harvey must contend with a daughter getting married across the pond in London.
Now a dilemma unfolds: How does Harvey deal with two monumental moments Ã¢â‚¬â€œ giving his daughter away or saving his job? Tough questions like these weigh heavily on the psyche. Pack up your troubles to cure the rut so its off to London. Well, not so fast.
It seems that everything that Harvey touches turns to dirt. Likeable on the outside you can see this guy is in one colossal rut. Contrast this to the bridal party where daughter Susan smoulders and the rest of the entourage sizzles. While Harvey pines on the outside director Joel Hopkins who co-wrote the story introduces us to an equally phased middle aged Brit also undergoing a crisis in confidence on the home front.
Kate Walker has lots in common with Harvey, including a lack of success in the love arena. How these two meet may be a bit unsure but you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t overlook the Ã¢â‚¬Å“chemistryÃ¢â‚¬Â between these two well-intentioned sad sack losers who somehow form a bond during troubled times.
Oscar winning actors Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) and Emma Thompson (Love Actually) shine in this small drama that has a big heart. Odds are good that we may know some people like this in our own lives which makes the painful experience of seeing two lives going nowhere click big time once the rebound occurs.
Everyone loves a party and a wedding can be momentous. Issues of split families rise to the fore on the big day with some pretty impressive behind the scenes emotions bursting out. Not quite as impactful as the classic wedding moment from 1967Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s The Graduate lovers of all ages will surely be able to relate to the commotion of this special day. Special on a number of different fronts, Last Chance Harvey proves there may be hope for all of us for us to get by with a little help from your friends, to coin a classy Beatles tune.
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