Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson
Harvey Shine (Hoffman) is a lonely man who travels to London to attend his daughters wedding. Upon arriving, he realizes just how separated he has become from her life. Kate Walker (Thompson) is also in a lonely place in life, having been in one failed relationship after another. Yes, the two meet, and yes, they like each other.
I would say this is a typical romantic comedy, but it’s not really. It borderlines on typical, but it’s a little too grounded in realism for it to be called typical. There’s real feelings of loneliness on display, as well as awkwardness and pain. Seeing Harvey deal with the realization that he’s sort of “lost” his relationship with his daughter somewhere along the way is pretty heartbreaking. In fact, I wish they would have lingered on that kind of feeling a little bit more in the beginning. The movie seems to hurry past that in an effort to get to the main romance story, and I think that might have lessened the impact of the rest of the film.
Hoffman and Thompson are both good in their roles, though I can’t help but think their pairing is a little odd, seeing as how Hoffman is about 22 years older than Thompson (and a few inches shorter as well). But Hoffman does bring a bit of a vibrant, youthful charm to the role, which makes me wonder why his character is such an outcast.
This is not an amazing movie, but it’s a watchable one, with a few moments that are very touching, particularly Harvey’s reception speech. I like that there’s not a lot of angry conflict here. There are bitter feelings in the family, but they are handled with a calmness usually lacking in a movie like this. This is probably an indicator of the best thing about this movie, its maturity, which can probably be traced directly back to its two leads.
10 – 1.2 for not an especially believable pairing of actors – 1.2 for some dull sections – .5 for the odd side plot with Thompson’s mom + .2 for the reception scene = 7.3