A Hopeful Sign

19 Jan

Harvey Shine is one of those sad sack characters we meet every now and then in the movies. Within the first third of Last Chance Harvey, he’s lost his job, he’s missed a flight, he’s belittled by his ex-wife, and he’s been told by his daughter on the eve of her wedding (that, by the way, he’s flown from New York to London to attend) that she considers her stepfather to be a more significant parent than Harvey was. He’s lost, sad, lonely, out of his element, and hopeless. And then … And then he meets Kate Walker in a bar, and wouldn’t you know it, Harvey gets a new outlook on life and is willing to take a chance on love again. So goes LCH, a charming little film that’s like a hybrid of Before Sunrise/Sunset and An Affair to Remember for people my parents’ age to enjoy.

Led by very likable performances by Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, LCH doesn’t reinvent the romantic drama or push any boundaries. In fact, some of it is predictable and sort of silly (like an unnecessary subplot about Kate’s mother being scared of her neighbor). But no matter. Hoffman and Thompson transcend the material and make a very appealing, if a little unlikely, couple. This one won’t rock your world or anything, but it’s pleasant, sweet, and enjoyable, and the acting by the two stars makes LCH worth seeing. I’m giving it a strong B.

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