Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: How About You

The latest in a long line of films featuring elderly folk as amusingly dotty old broads and bastards.

Nov 13, 2008

-By Lewis Beale


filmjournal/photos/stylus/46180-How_About_You_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Amiable enough, but so cliché-filled it should be the subject of a “How to Make a Completely Unoriginal Film” thesis, How About You comes from the “wacky old broad” school of English comedy. Of course, when the old broads are Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton and Brenda Fricker, the film is at least watchable. But top-tier talent doesn’t mean How About You is any less obvious, in a been-there, seen-that sort of way.

The story is simple enough. Ellie (Hayley Atwell) is working at her sister’s rest home when their mum gets sick. Big sis (Orla Brady) decides to go visit mum, leaving Ellie in charge of the four residents still around over Christmas holiday.

They are nothing if not a mismatched quartet. Georgia (Redgrave) is a former film siren, now flouncing around like Isadora Duncan and living on martinis. Donald (Joss Ackland) is a retired judge and former alcoholic who has descended into severe misanthropy. And there are two spinster sisters, Heather (Fricker), a feisty pool shark, and Hazel (Staunton), who seems afraid of her own shadow.

Naturally, these four give poor Ellie one hell of a bad time until she flips out and tells them how nasty, evil and selfish they are, after which—Oh, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!—they bond like siblings, learn to appreciate life again, and have one hell of a holiday.

If you’re experiencing déjà vu all over again, it’s because this old-geezers-learn-to-love-life-again plot has been done about eight-gajillion times. In fact, about the only thing original here is that not one of the four dies. That’s usually the case in films of this sort, the rejuvenated oldster passing on after getting that final shot at happiness. The bittersweet, teary ending.

No such weepy time here, but at least How About You is short and inoffensive. As to its creative chops…let’s not go there.



Film Review: How About You

The latest in a long line of films featuring elderly folk as amusingly dotty old broads and bastards.

Nov 13, 2008

-By Lewis Beale


filmjournal/photos/stylus/46180-How_About_You_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Amiable enough, but so cliché-filled it should be the subject of a “How to Make a Completely Unoriginal Film” thesis, How About You comes from the “wacky old broad” school of English comedy. Of course, when the old broads are Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton and Brenda Fricker, the film is at least watchable. But top-tier talent doesn’t mean How About You is any less obvious, in a been-there, seen-that sort of way.

The story is simple enough. Ellie (Hayley Atwell) is working at her sister’s rest home when their mum gets sick. Big sis (Orla Brady) decides to go visit mum, leaving Ellie in charge of the four residents still around over Christmas holiday.

They are nothing if not a mismatched quartet. Georgia (Redgrave) is a former film siren, now flouncing around like Isadora Duncan and living on martinis. Donald (Joss Ackland) is a retired judge and former alcoholic who has descended into severe misanthropy. And there are two spinster sisters, Heather (Fricker), a feisty pool shark, and Hazel (Staunton), who seems afraid of her own shadow.

Naturally, these four give poor Ellie one hell of a bad time until she flips out and tells them how nasty, evil and selfish they are, after which—Oh, frabjous day! Calloo! Callay!—they bond like siblings, learn to appreciate life again, and have one hell of a holiday.

If you’re experiencing déjà vu all over again, it’s because this old-geezers-learn-to-love-life-again plot has been done about eight-gajillion times. In fact, about the only thing original here is that not one of the four dies. That’s usually the case in films of this sort, the rejuvenated oldster passing on after getting that final shot at happiness. The bittersweet, teary ending.

No such weepy time here, but at least How About You is short and inoffensive. As to its creative chops…let’s not go there.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

A Promise
Film Review: A Promise

Handsomely filmed but wan period romance. More »

Final Member
Film Review: The Final Member

Breezy documentary about the aging owner of a small Icelandic museum dedicated to penises and his quest for one last, coveted exhibit is a charmer, thanks to the warmth and sly sense of humor the protagonist brings to his unusual hobby. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here