Last Chance Harvey

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner3/06/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

A low-key, predictable but no less enjoyable romantic comedy that earns an extra star for two terrific performances from Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow), Last Chance Harvey stars Dustin Hoffman as New York jingle writer Harvey, who flies to London in order to attend his estranged daughter's (Liane Balaban) wedding, even though doing so means putting his career in jeopardy. Once at the wedding, he's intimidated by the presence of his ex-wife (Kathy Baker) and his daughter's step-dad (James Brolin) and ends up leaving after the ceremony, intending to fly straight home.

However, when Harvey misses his flight, he ends up meeting down-on-her-luck airport worker Kate (Emma Thompson) and persuades her to spend the day with him. As the pair wander around London, their initial chemistry begins to develop into something stronger and eventually Kate persuades Harvey to return to the wedding reception.

The Good
Hoffman and Thompson have terrific chemistry together and their gradually unfolding relationship is delightful to watch. It's also genuinely refreshing to see a romcom about a middle-aged couple and the theme of two people finding each other late in life is extremely powerful.

The first half of the film is nicely edited, with equal weight given to both Kate and Harvey as we slowly work out they'd be perfect for each other - the scene where Kate's friends attempt to set her up with Patrick Baladi is excruciating. Similarly, the second half delivers nicely (if predictably) and hits all the right emotional buttons.

The Bad
Annoyingly, the film is peppered with London continuity issues (e.g. characters crossing Embankment bridge then walking the wrong way along the South Bank), to the point where it's hard to resist shouting “Take the tube!” at the screen when airport-bound Harvey gets stuck in traffic outside Hammersmith station.

Worth seeing?
Last Chance Harvey is an enjoyable, leisurely-paced romcom with terrific performances from Hoffman and Thompson. Look out too for an appearance from popular beat combo Kitty, Daisy & Lewis during the riverbank scenes. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Last Chance Harvey
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Content updated: 19/11/2019 05:19

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