The mere idea of love inspires clichés, but sometimes on screen a love story comes along that harnesses the innate truth upon which the whole tired edifice has been constructed. Writer/director Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow) lays the simple framework of love discovered late in life over the course of a single emotional wreck of a weekend and fortifies his narrative with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson as his leads.
Hoffman is Harvey Shine, a put-upon jingle writer traveling to London for the wedding of his estranged daughter. He loses his job and gets pushed to the sidelines of the wedding party, but as he surrenders to fate and heavy drink he encounters Kate (Thompson), a spinsterish airport worker hemmed in by a needy mother and an attachment to her own quiet sense of defeat and cynicism.
And just like that, as Harvey seizes onto Kate, audiences will likely find solace in the homey comforts of watching Hoffman and Thompson find a measure of love that feels true despite all that we’ve come to expect from the usual romantic-comedy presentations of love. There is none of the usual phony, overly plotted drama, just a lifetime of hurt and remorse infused with a dash of hope.
Last Chance Harvey proves you should never assume that you won’t get what you deserve, whether that’s the great reward of love or a good and honest love story. Grade: B
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