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Last Chance Harvey movie poster

Last Chance Harvey

Genre: Drama, Romance
Rated: PG-13
Directed by:
Joel Hopkins
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Liane Balaban, James Brolin, Kathy Baker,
Richard Schiff
Released by: Overture Films

In Short: Terrific performances and a realistic storyline make this an adult love story that is at times sad, often charming, and definitely amusing throughout.
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What happens when you pair two Oscar-winning actors in an unexpected way? In the case of Last Chance Harvey, the result is a charming film about finding love when it is least expected.

Those two wonderful actors are Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, who star as a very unlikely pair of lovers. Hoffman is Harvey Shine, a New York advertising jingle writer whose life is at a crossroads. He’s burnt out at his job, has no personal life at all, and even his daughter, whose London wedding he travels to at the start of the film, has little use for him. She doesn’t want him to give her away; that honor goes to her stepfather, who is played just right—with a touch of condescending slime—by James Brolin.

Dustin Hoffman and Liane Balaban in Last Chance Harvey Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in Last Chance Harvey

Harvey's life is an awfully depressing state of affairs, one that is mirrored by the mundane and lonely life that middle-aged Brit Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) is living in London. With an overbearing mother and a boring job, she’s just about given up on ever finding love. Life is just plodding by for her as she goes about her daily routine.

When the two have a chance encounter in the airport, it almost goes awry. But then that unexpected something happens, and suddenly the whole tone of Last Chance Harvey changes, shifting from a somewhat dark drama about two sadsack losers into an amusing, hopeful look at grown-ups finding love when it is least anticipated.

What makes this film so good is the winning combination of an excellent, very believable storyline and great dialogue paired with terrific performances by the two leads. The result is a movie that alternately makes you wince, then smile, then even shed a tear or two, as this unlikely pair find the kind of real emotional happiness that everyone, no matter what our age or nationality, hope to have in our lives before it is all over.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

PSB010809 (Updated: 09/23/13 RED)

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