Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|An Awfully Big Adventure|
Actors: Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Georgina Cates
Director: Mike Newell
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman star in director Mike Newell's (Four Weddings And A Funeral) engaging comedy about a star-struck young girl lured into the grown-up world of the theater. From a crush on the company's heartless ... more »
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A Lovely, Sad Movie... woefully misleading adverts
dooby | 04/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent film, moving, sad, even tragic. It is NOT a "warm hearted comedy," as it says on the back of the DVD. And it certainly is not "hilarious". The blurb on the cover is quite possibly the most misleading I have ever come across. Despite that, it is a lovely film. It is a solid, serious British drama, with an excellent all round cast. The humour where present is decidedly low key. Its predominant mood is one of sadness and loss, there is warmth to be sure, but certainly not what is projected on the cover or in the trailer. One wonders why the publicists chose to so misrepresent such a fine film. Was it because they were worried its serious and even dark nature would put off the popcorn munchers? Perhaps it would have been better if they had. Then we wouldn't have been saddled with so many negative reviews from viewers who naturally felt short-changed. Then again, this is not a movie that American audiences would readily take to.
Set in 1947, it tells the story of a 16 year old girl, Stella (Georgina Cates), abandoned at birth by a wayward mother and brought up by her aunt and uncle, who aspires to join the Theatre. Into this milieu she willingly plunges herself. She encounters sordid seedy characters. She takes on menial tasks without pay. She embraces all with a gushing eager naivete. She falls for the stage director (Hugh Grant) who in her young innocence she doesn't realise actually has a preference for boys. She then latches on to an aging Lothario (Alan Rickman) who does appreciate young girls. In this darkness in which she finds herself, past and present intersect. The absent mother she faithfully places a call to everyday, the same mother who gave her away years ago, becomes the silent confidant of her hopes and fears. The aging Rickman character constantly pines for his own past even as he happily deflowers the young girl. The stage director's sordid history of seducing and then spurning young men finally comes to a head. All combine to create an air of loss and decay. A nice touch was the use of a lone flute playing "The Last Rose Of Summer" whenever the Rickman character thinks back to his lost love. If you know the song, it perfectly encapsulates the mood of this movie. And yes there is a twist at the end, but if you have been paying attention, it won't come as too much of a shock. Although the prudes and the self-righteous will as usual recoil in moral outrage.
New Line Entertainment has given us a fine if bare-bones DVD. The film is transferred in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (enhanced for widescreen TV). Picure quality is good, clean and clear with natural warm colors. Black levels are just right. Audio includes the original stereo plus both DTS and Dolby 5.1 remixes. Excellent presentation. There are even optional English subtitles for people who can't get round the British accents. Thank goodness not everybody makes sanitized, Hollywood dross."
Tragedy or comedy? Fine actors, at least...
Merilahti Kristiina | Finland | 11/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, I wouldn't have wathed it, if it didn't have Alan Rickman. One sees his acting so little, Harry Potter -movies really are a waste of time for people like me, who appreciate the fine adult actors in them - and see them only briefly. Again Alan Rickman has a difficult part and comes in late in the movie. But what the heck: the movie isn't bad. And Hugh Grant can be really sleezy! I can't tell how much I enjoyed his sexually vague, self-centered director. And Georgina Cates is really wonderful. She is the one that makes this a comedy. Stella (Cates) is so determined to become a real actress, that she hangs on every word the director says and writes down his pseudo-artistic ponderings - which he himself doesn't believe after he's said them. She worships even his nicotine-stained fingers, starts wearing a hidden cross after hearing all in the theatre are catholics - she is a protestant - and fakes a venerial disease, because everyone seems to have sex with everything that moves - except her. So she decides to get rid of her virginity as soon as possible.Rickman enters in a scene that seems to be designed for someone like him, who can hold your attention without speaking or doing anything, just looking. He walks through the theatre, people come and talk to him, say things to him... He hardly stops or opens his mouth. The director isn't happy to have him back, but everyone agrees, that no one can play Captain Hook like he can, so he is invited to join the cast. Again: Captain Hook: who else? Rickman is the villain we love. And the glimpses of Hook are really delicious. It made me again think, how people send different messages, even professional actors playing the same part. When Grant does the Hook, the children are sitting silently, filled with suspence, even fear, whereas Rickman's Hook makes them laugh out loud. Of course it's been directed that way, but it has some truth in it. I would also like to mention Alun Armstrong, uncle Vernon, who is always good, in this movie also. And then... In case you haven't read other reviews: this is not an easy film to watch, even though it's at times very funny. Even though Stella almost demands Rickman's character to take her, it isn't always comfortable to watch their relationship. Even though Cates turns out some comedy in it and some kind of real love seems to be budding between them. And the end is tragic, though it didn't come to me as a big surprise after Rickman said - first seeing Cates -: "I know her." So I was pretty much aware of the real tragedy, but was still touched by the unnecessarily sad solution. This isn't a feel-good movie. But it's a damn good one and I do like stories that unfold slowly to let you know bit by bit how things really are and where you thought wrong. But no, this really isn't easy. I suppose I should have expected it. When does Rickman play easy parts?"
Poignant coming-of-age tale goes strangely astray.
email@example.com | Seattle, WA | 04/14/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The actors in this movie are what drew me to it. Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman are two of my favorite performers. To see them in a movie about the theatre, well I couldn't resist.The film starts out as a lovely coming-of-age film about a young woman's first experience in theatre. What it turns into about two thirds of the way through is a sad, sordid tale of incest, suicide and denial. It's as if the writers suddenly started smoking something while they were trying to finish the script.The performances in the film are worth sitting through it. Georgina Cates who plays Stella, the central character, is quite good. Alan Rickman is wonderful as always as the dashing matinee idol on his way to being washed up. The great delight is Hugh Grant as a snotty, prissy summer stock director. It's probably the most over-the-top I've seen him and I loved it.I was surprised to see this listed as a comedy, but not sure where else you'd put it. It's a tough movie to pin down. Not a movie for everyone, but it is a guilty pleasure for those of us who would watch Alan Rickman read the phone book."
E. Marin | Palo Alto, CA United States | 01/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I highly recommend this excellent adaptation of Bainbridge's dark, quirky novel. Georgina Cates plays the starstruck Stella with exactly the right combination of yearning naivete and matter-of-fact aloofness. Alan Rickman is mesmerizing as legendary actor O'Hara and happily is able to attract great sympathy during what might otherwise easily be regarded as a grotesque courtship of the teenage actress. And Hugh Grant as the odious Meredith is an extremely convincing villain - it's hard to imagine more of a departure from his usual endearing mumbler, but he pulls off this role with great aplomb. Warning: focusing as it does on a young girl's loss of innocence and the unglamorous underbelly of theatre, this film is for mature audiences only."