A powerful adaptation of one of modern drama's most celebrated plays. Since it first premiered on London?s West End in 1956, John Osborne?s LOOK BACK IN ANGER has shocked audiences with its blunt portrayal of domestic real... more »ism. Now available for the first time on DVD, Academy AwardŽ-nominee Kenneth Branagh (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and Academy AwardŽ-winner Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) star in this powerful Thames Television adaptation of Osborne?s enduring classic. LOOK BACK IN ANGER tells the simple but gripping story of Jimmy Porter (Kenneth Branagh), an angry young man with a college education and a dead-end job. Feeling trapped by his circumstances, his squalid post-war flat, and spurred on by self-pity, Porter lashes out against his wife, Allison (Emma Thompson), his lover, Helena (Siobhan Redmond), and his business partner, Cliff (Gerard Horan). Fierce, compassionate, funny, and ultimately cathartic, John Osborne's classic "kitchen sink" drama, as directed by Academy AwardŽ-winner Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), is a masterpiece of ensemble acting. DVD Features: An Angry Young Man: A Look Back at Look Back In Anger--An Interview with Kenneth Branagh; Cast Biographies; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection« less
1989 production based on a realist play written by John Osborne, English playwright known for his excoriating prose and critical stance towards 1950's established social and political norms. What you are about to witness here is a landmark of British theatre. The inspiration for this play was his own failing marriage, indeed, as he was writing it. In fact, this play spawned the term "angry young men" which typified Osborne's generation, and also signified a paradigm shift in terms of entertainment no longer being politely 'escapist' like Noel Coward, as in the past. (For other instances, see Albert Finney in "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" or "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner".)
What will draw your attention throughout most of this tale are the endless tirades. Brannagh plays a man considerably discontent with his lot in life. He is abounding with fretfulness and cannot seem to sit still. And the angst is projected towards anything in the vicinity. You'll be feeling quite sorry for the wife by the end of this.
There's another 1958 filmed version of the play starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Mary Ure, which I own but have not viewed yet. Strangely enough, and to put a rather fine point on it, Osborne dumped his wife for Mary Ure at this point. A 1980's film version of this play also exists, starring Malcolm Mcdowell, which doesn't appear to be available on Dvd.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
An exhausting, cathartic emotional experience.
A. C. Walter | Lynnwood, WA USA | 01/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is minimalist filmed version of a play originally directed for the stage by Judi Dench. In my opinion, it's also Kenneth Branagh's finest screen performance. For a full two hours, he is Jimmy Porter, the man you want to hate but can't help but love. He's one of the educated lower class, burdened by ego and unfulfilled potential. He's an urban lion with a huge heart and claws that constantly torture those around him, namely his wife (Emma Thompson).
These characters are so real, you'll dream about them afterward, and if you give it a chance, this film will work its way into your heart and teach you something about life."
Not What You Would Expect
A. C. Walter | 07/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong, it is an excellent play. Well-acted and well-directed, but for Kenneth Branagh's USA fans, the character of Jimmy is a little tough to take at first. However, once you get some background on the characters, you find yourself very involved in the story. Fair warning, this is a play for adults and is very emotionally (usually negatively) charged. Don't be put off by that fact, though. The excellent performances alone make it well-worth watching."
I loved this film!
One More Option | 05/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm usually not too keen on plays done on film, but this one was really well done. Judi Dench did a very good job directing, and Branagh and Thompson worked really well together, as always. Everyone ought to see this film at least once."
This Just In . . .
One More Option | USA | 04/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is for anyone who didn't handle their past relationships perfectly and who wants to understand they are not alone in the mistakes they made.
I agree with another reviewer - this is my favorite Kenneth Brannagh performance. I've enjoyed him in other things, but I usually find myself looking at the screen and thinking, "Hey, there's charismatic Kenneth Branagh doing a charismatic acting performance." But his charisma is well placed in this part, playing Jimmy Porter, a man whose ideas are larger than his station, who is overwrought with the limitations of his era.
Jimmy: "They all want to escape from the pain of being alive, and most of all from love . . . It's no good trying to fool yourself about love, you can't fall into it like a soft job without dirtying up your hands. It takes muscle and guts. And if you can't bare the thought of messing up your nice, clean soul . . . then you'd better . . . become a saint, because you'll never make it as a human being. It's either this world or the next."
I don't know if the title of the play is ironic, sarcastic, tragic or literal - probably all four and more.
Jimmy: "You made a good enemy, didn't you? What they call a worthy opponent." Alison: "I love you."
Alison: "You know, I keep looking back as far as I can remember, and I can't remember what it was to feel young . . . really young."
I titled this review "This Just In" because I feel kind of silly reviewing a movie that came out 17 years ago. But I recommend it because Judy Dench's choice to film the movie like a stage play was exceptional. A point of this play is to look at human relations in the confines of a small living space, small social circle, and British social constructs. And watching the characters, we see how difficult each conversational reply is because everyone in the room knows so much about each other's past. Their small space becomes even more difficult to move in, as they avoid the land mines, slip between the elephants, and struggle with eye contact. Yet despite the constant hardship, love survives.
Please comment, express feedback, or suggest related works or plays."
A great showing of this ground-breaking play
TravelMod | New York, NY USA | 02/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Osborne broke the mold of polite English drama with this "kitchen sink" story of frustration, class wars, betrayal, post-war malaise, and personal failure. Branagh and Thompson, married at the time, not surprisingly show great personal chemistry, and are also completely believable in their roles of a woman who married down and a man who married up and who can't forgive either himself or his wife for his failures.Also keep your eye on the ironing board. This is a filmed version of the play; no added scenes of the great outdoors."