Sunday, 28 June 2009

A second chance at love

Once in a while, we come across an obscure movie that's played by top-rate actors... and it makes us wonder why the movie is not that well-known. I watched one such movie last night and it is a gem.

Last Chance Harvey stars two Oscar-winning actors in the lead roles, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. It tells the story of a jingle-writing musician, Harvey Shine (played by Hoffman) facing a crisis in his career. He reluctantly goes to London to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter but his mind is constantly on his work because of the fear that he might lose his job to other younger guys.

Thompson plays Kate Walker, a single woman who works for the British Public Statistics Agency. Her boring job involves handling questionnaires to arriving passengers at Heathrow Airport. On one such occasion, she approaches Harvey who has just got off the plane from New York but he rudely brushes her off. After work, Kate goes to a blind date that was arranged by a colleague but the date turned out to be a spoiler.

Harvey attends the pre-wedding dinner at a restaurant but his presence was awkwardly received. Things did not get any better when after dinner, his daughter Susan tells him that she wants her step-father to give her away at the wedding tomorrow.

Harvey attends the wedding ceremony the next morning but leaves immediately after the vows were exchanged. He wants to hurry back to the US to close a business contract but gets caught in the London traffic jam that caused him to miss his flight. He calls his boss in New York only to be told that the account is being handled by someone else and that Harvey is now no longer needed.

Harvey walks to the airport bar and has a few shots of whisky to drown his sorrows. He notices a lone woman reading a book at a nearby table and realized that it is the same questionnaire lady that he avoided earlier. He strikes up a conversation by first apologizing for his rude manner. Kate does not recognize him but accepts his apology anyway just to cut the conversation short. The first few exchanges of lines were testy but it turned to be more cordial when Harvey's answer of how shitty his day has been convinced Kate that his day was worse than hers. The casual conversation continued over lunch and included a short but interesting discussion on the British phrase of `stiff upper lip'.

The friendship continues with a walk along the Thames River in London. Kate convinces Harvey to go to his daughter's wedding reception but Harvey will only go if Kate agrees to come along. At the reception, Harvey redeems himself by delivering a short but moving speech as the father-of-the-bride. The movie then continues with events that unfold as the friendship between Harvey and Kate develops.

Last Chance Harvey is a romantic movie that succeeds purely on the acting strength of the two lead characters. There is no action scene whatsoever... just dialogue, facial expressions and gestures. It would be a boring movie for some but I loved it. It is a story of having the chance to fall in love again. No matter how old you are. Yes... I am a sentimental old fool sometimes.

If you need a good pick-me-up sort of movie to get over any disappointment or despair, do watch this one. Get the DVD or catch it when it makes its appearance on Astro.

Last Chance Harvey (December 2008)
Written and Directed by Joel Hopkins
Duration : 1 hr 28 min.


D said...

You're a sentimental old fool sometimes? LOL!!

Yes, I saw the review and am tempted to watch it too.

zafi said...

i will put this movie in my movie list! Gosh it getting increase now... limited time to enjoy movies lately... :P

Tok Senek said...

you are not bad at reviewing movies, not bad at all. i do sometimes catch some unknown but very good movies myself

Patricia said...

Hi Fadhil,

This sounds exactly like the kinda movie I'll choose to watch! And I'd have picked this one, mainly because I love Emma Thomson, and Dustin Hoffman can usually be depended upon to provide a good show!

Thank you for the review. I hope I'll get the chance to see it soon. I'm an Astro girl lah, no cinemas for me. I hate them! Occassionally, my children will leave behind a movie they've been watching, and that's the only time Chuan and I watch a dvd. How old and boring are we??!!! Hahahah!

Saya... said...


Sounds like a good movie...

Yeah, I like that sorta movie based on acting strength alone..tapi nak kata "pick-me-up" movie, at the end mesti rasa lagi sunyi sebab hero and heroine dah find the love of their lives tapi yang dok tengok tu masih belum lagi...hahaha

DrSam said...

Nice review!

I watch all sort of movies, but my preference is still an action-packed one with load of fancy sound effect in the background :)

Depending on my mood though, this type of movie will also fit into one of my late-night-weekend movie watching slots.

Anonymous said...

I am also a hopeless sentimental fool *grins* Will check around to see if any of my friends/ colleagues have this DVD to pinjam. Thanks for the heads-up.

mamasita said...

Hai Oldstock..sounds like a wonderful movie..I nak tengoklah.Its quite realistic actually..hope is always there for those who think its hopeless..

VersedAnggerik said...

I say, wayyyyy better than Transformers!

Anonymous said...

Aren't we all sentimental fools some times. Great review - looks like one movie worth waiting for - on Astro that is - don't go to Cinemas anymore.
Had been a fan of Dustin Hoffman since 'Midnight Cowboy'.

BTW love your story about the long drive North and back South. I used to do that quite a bit in my younger days. Never ceased to be amazed at our great highways and the surrounding sceneries.


Oldstock said...

-> D, do try to watch the movie if you have some free time. You never know when you might just get the chance to fall in love... again.

-> Zafi, no need to hurry. If you have this movie on your watching list, then the time will come when you'll want to watch it.

Oldstock said...

Tok snake,

I sometimes go watch movies based on who's acting in it and not on any publicity or review. Sometimes the movie is crappy but generally it would turn out ok. For those that turn out crap, it just tells me that good actors make wrong choices too. Example of crappy movie -> the one starring Mark Wahlberg called The Happening, or something like it.

Oldstock said...


I'm pretty sure you'll love to watch this one. The exchange of dialogue between Hoffman and Thompson is so refreshing that I didn't feel bored at all. And Thompson's English accent is so juicy... love it!

If Chuan's a sentimental guy, you should watch the movie with him.

Oldstock said...

Salam Saya,

Yes, the story has a sort of happy ending. But you need not worry, yang dok tengok movie pun akan ada peluang untuk happy ending juga :-)

Oldstock said...


I like to watch action movies too especially when I'm in a lively mood or when I don't feel like analysisng things too much. Action movies are good for pure entertainment. Last Chance harvey is a good movie to watch if you like to think about human relationships.

Oldstock said...

-> Andrea, so I see that you can be a sentimental fool too... except that you are not `old', heheheh.

-> mamasita, I like what you wrote. Hope is always there for those who think it is hopeless. Exactly!

Oldstock said...


A friend of mine has seen Transformers and he was sorely disappointed. Well, if anybody wants to see Transformers and not feel disappointed, then they have to throw logic out of the window before watching it.

Oldstock said...


Wow... Midnight Cowboy is a long way back, my friend. I liked Dustin Hoffman in Papillon. His not so good movie is Sphere, a sci-fi thingy.

I love doing long drives across the country. Wanted to do a JB-Kuantan trip last week but work cropped up in the weekend.

hanitha said...

salam bro, kabare? dh lamer tk jenguk blog bro sejak i giler layan citer korea hehehe, penangan dpd my daughter la nie. i love romantic movies n tk serabut kn kepala..menaikkn jiwa cinta semuler ehehehe..poyo2..
transformers??? suka la, semua citer action packe tk minat menenangkn jiwa..
nk layan citer mcm yg u post nie je..take care

Pak Zawi said...

Thanks for the great review. From now onwards I will see a movie only after I have read your review. We seems to like the same kind of movie.

Oldstock said...


Kamu ni... layan cerita korea manjang, heheheh.

Walaupun dah tua, apa salahnya jatuh cinta semula... asalkan jgn mengharapkan yg dah milik orang lain, betul tak?

Oldstock said...

Pak Zawi,

Oops.. I hope you don't rely on my reviews too much. I do watch a lot of movies, but writing about them can sometimes be a chore, heheheh :-)

Your comment reminds me of a TV show I watched when I was a student. It was a movie review programme hosted by Barry Norman. I liked his reviews because I seem to have similar taste in movies as he. So much so that all the movies he recommended, I'll watch.

KL girl now in Ipoh said...

Nice review. Makes me want to watch the movie. Action stuff just makes lots of noise but solid acting and a simple story line could turn out an amazing movie. Thanks!

Oldstock said...

Hi KL girl!

Hope life in Ipoh is treating you well. Thanks for dropping by. Will pop over to your blog soon.

If you do manage to watch the movie, please let me know what you think.