x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Last Chance Harvey

A middle-aged romance could make for a good movie. All it needs is a good script, interesting characters and good performances, all of which this one lacks.

Dustin Hoffman makes it to his daughter's wedding in Last Chance Harvey.
Dustin Hoffman makes it to his daughter's wedding in Last Chance Harvey.

Romantic stories featuring middle-aged couples are thin on the ground, so it's a shame that a huge opportunity was missed with Last Chance Harvey because of an inane desire to make the romance between Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson resemble a high school tale. Hoffman is Harvey Shine, a divorcee so despised by his family that he has barely made it on to the invite list for his daughter's (Liane Balaban) wedding in London. He's so grumpy that he informs his daughter that he's going to leave the nuptials early as he has an important meeting for his job as a jingle writer. It's a surprise that the dowdy airport worker Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) gives him the time of day. Huge leaps of faith are required to follow this tale, not least that a man desperate to return to New York would not be able to find a seat on one of the countless flights that cross the Atlantic, especially when it is clear that money is no object from the way he splashes out, Pretty Woman-style, on a dress for Kate. In between a potted sightseeing tour of London, boring Kate becomes more open to Harvey and he stops being such a jerk. However, with a deficit of good characters, a poor script and surprisingly weak central performances, Last Chance Harvey is only for those who have run out of options at the multiplex.

* Kaleem Aftab