Okay, so it's not an art piece, a great classic, or a stellar example of brilliant film- making. But does every movie have to be? This movie is cute, charming and clean (especially when compared to the most of the filth being made today). Paris looks gorgeous, as do Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and the haute couture fashions are to die for. Sometimes you're just in the mood for something light and frothy, where you don't need to think, analyze or criticize. This movie is ideal for that purpose. I particularly enjoyed the witty comments in the opening credits regarding the fashions used in the picture. While not worth running out and buying (although thanks to my husband and an Amazon wish list accident I do now own the DVD), it would certainly be worth watching if it ran on TV, or even renting if you have a particular fondness for this era, or these actors.
The number of people who say that they took their small children to see this film proves to me once again how emotionally desensitized our society has become. This film, though beautiful and with an excellent message, was almost too
painful to watch. I went with my mother (who is 60) and we were so glad that there were only two other people in the theatre, because we cried through
practically the whole film. There is no way that I would take any child under 10 to this film, but then the children that I know who are under 10 are gentle and sensitive and would be as distressed as we were. You can teach smaller
children the messages of this film without having to show them such things until they are older.
I could go on about all the things I disliked about this movie, but other extremely eloquent reviewers have done that for me. However, there is one aspect of this film that has not been commented on that I wish to: Richard Curtis' alarming
obsession with weight. I work with young women, helping them to build healthy self-images, and not to buy into the unrealistic ideals that the media portray. So along comes Mr. Curtis and writes a script that continually reinforces those
negative images. The Martine McCutcheon character, who is a lovely, sexy,
healthy looking woman is referred to several times as fat. The Emma Thompson character, looking like an average, well-cared for middle-aged woman, painfully opines about the size of her bottom. I find this kind of psychological abuse intolerable and offensive, and certainly does not demonstrate any love toward women.
I came across this DVD the other day, and despite never having heard of it, bought it on the strength of the cast alone. How happy I am to have listened to my intuition! It is a fascinating and delightful 1978 TV adaptation of a play (Best Play of 1949), with Joan Plowright as the ostensibly titled character. She is actually Lady Pitts, the 50ish wife of the 87 year old Lord Pitts (Olivier). When the play opens, we find her knocking back numerous double brandies and commencing to sing and tell stories of her youth. Her apparent charm and eccentricities serve to entrance the young Polish student at the table next to her, who promptly decides she is his Beatrice, his Daphne. The rest of the play involves a rather confused tea party, the young man's passionate attachment to Lady Pitts and the ensuing consequences. It is utterly charming, gentle, and beautifully acted by the superb Plowright. Olivier is as ever, in a fairly small part, but the young Polish student, played by Clive Arindell is very interesting to watch, as his face shows the joys and pains of young love. I would highly recommend taking a chance on this little film.
I never tire of watching this tour de force of two of the most brilliant actors ever, directed by one of the greatest directors of all time. Hepburn and Olivier are riveting as they deliver James Costigan's sparkling script, handled so deftly by George Cukor. Tears, laughter and awe are mingled throughout.
The supporting cast, the costumes and the music (oh, the music!!) only add to what is already as close to a perfect film experience as one is ever to experience. It is my most fervent wish that LATR will soon be released in a decent copy on DVD. If it is, run to your nearest video store, buy it immediately, and prepare to be dazzled!