Academy AwardŽ nominee Peter O?Toole (2006 Best Actor) leads a powerful cast to deliver a charming and poignant portrayal of Maurice, an aging veteran actor who becomes absolutely taken with Jessie ? the grandniece of his ... more »closest friend. When Maurice tries to soften the petulant and provincial young girl with the benefit of his wisdom and London culture, their give-and-take surprises both Maurice and Jessie as they discover what they don?t know about themselves. Featuring brilliant performances from a superb supporting cast, VENUS is a witty and wise celebration of how the greatest lessons in life can come from the most unlikely places.« less
Rosemary F. from JENKINTOWN, PA Reviewed on 2/1/2011...
good movie but the premise was kind of creepy.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Laura B. (Windyastro) Reviewed on 9/21/2010...
Wonderful, Peter O'Toole's recital of Shakespeare's sonnets, as only a great theatrical genius can deliver, is worth having the movie for (in one of the scenes)!!!
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
How Not to Go Quietly
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 02/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
If you are just a little bit lucky in life and in love someone will think of you as a "Venus" or a "David" (as in Michelangelo). And for better or worse Maurice (a terrific, sensitive, thoughtful performance by Peter O'Toole) feels this way about a young woman Jessie (Jodie Whittaker in a strong debut). And though at first Jessie resists the friendship and mentorship of Maurice she soon realizes that this man who offers his love and companionship, wants her in as selfless a manner as possible. Maurice is attracted to the youth, vigor and life in Jessie and she is attracted to his just slightly more than platonic attraction to her. Both Maurice and Jesse have agendas but they are not hidden as is usually the case in this type of lopsided relationship. Both are unabashedly upfront and without pretense. Director Roger Michell and particularly writer Hanif Kureishi ("My Beautiful Launderette") are tackling some important ideas here: slightly more advanced platonic love (oddly stated but nothing is really clear-cut in this film), how we as a society tend to discard the over 60 generation, the possibility of physical love after 60 or 70 , how the fervent and physical love between young people often matures into deep friendship and respect but sometimes doesn't and more importantly how our friends can ease our path into old age. Of special note here are the wonderful scenes between O'Toole and Vanessa Redgrave as his ex-wife and mother of his children. There is a palpable longing and regret in these scenes: these two know each other as no one else does and despite this they love each other with that special kind of love reserved for people who have seen and experienced each other's worst self. "Venus" is a remarkable film about loss, love and about the possibilities of life after 40...if not 60, 70 and 80. Maurice adamantly refuses to "go gently into that good night" without a fight, a slug of Scotch, a bracing cup of Tea and a knowing wink to a pretty girl. "
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The healing power of beauty is ageless. 'Venus' takes this theme all the way to the curtain call in the life of Morris Russell (Peter O'Toole). As a famous actor at the sunset of his life and career, his memory and desire are for beauty. This desire is rekindled when he meets his friend, Ian's, (Leslie Phillips) niece. Jessie (Jodie Whittaker), becomes for him that Venus, the ideal of female beauty. For the film to work and maintain its credibility, the mutual affection would have to suspend our disbelief. At first she ignores him as a boring, old codger--to the point of rudeness. That's realistic enough. But she does not merely reawaken his desire for feminine beauty that was at its zenith when he was a handsome young actor, he does for Venus what she desires. She wishes to be admired. Added to that his wit and charm, and he's the alternative to the limitations of virile--yet callow--youth. Besides they seldom know Shakespeare's sonnets, let alone are able to passionately quote them like he does. Theirs is a mutual arrangement. He spends money and time with her, and she gives him a marginal amount of space to enjoy her youthful effervescence. Each brings a measure of sweetness the other lacks. ("Do you believe in anything, Morris?" she asks. "Pleasure, I like," he replies, "I like to give pleasure.")
Indeed, when she doesn't prove to be dependable, there's still much for him to lean upon. Ian provides more than a commiserating "Grumpier Old Men" companionship. They both share the rage, laughter, and angst of life's final chapters. Their jokes make the film funny without detouring into cheap, dirty-old men routines. The humor only brings about our sympathy. Heartwarming and sadly funny, the friendship is as enduring as his legacy. (When he has a prostate operation, Ian asks why he didn't tell him. "I hate sympathy," he says. "You wouldn't have gotten any from me," Ian counters. "I know, you're a true friend," Morris replies.) Then, when Jessie isn't available, she stirs enough of his own desirability to rekindle an old flame. Valerie, played with realistic zest by Vanessa Redgrave, provides the power of love and forgiveness to ferment the mix.
Between O'Toole's Oscar nominated performance, and a story that makes the seemingly impossible real, `Venus' makes the whole exchange believable currency. 'Venus' does for romance what 'Rocky Balboa' did for boxing. It can be said that our youth and beauty worshipping culture often misses the boat and overlooks the wisdom and experience of the aged. `Venus' reminds us of what it is like to be articulate and romantic, a lesson sage in itself. "
Death in "Venus"
F. S. L'hoir | Irvine, CA | 05/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Venus" is a parable about the inevitability of time and the impermanence of love. The story is a variation on the theme of the dying man, smitten with lost youth and opportunity, which is revived----ever-so-briefly----via the persona of a beautiful young creature. Thus the aging actor Maurice--played with subtle poignancy by Peter O'Toole--who is captivated by the attractive, but rough-about-the-edges niece of another old actor and friend, is reminiscent of the aging composer Aschenbach, who yearns for the beautiful and unobtainable young Tadziu in Visconti's "Death in Venice." "Venus," in fact, portrays the unsatisfactory scenario of what might have occurred had Aschenbach realized his relationship with Tadziu. Like "Venice," "Venus" connects Love with Death, who, cast in a cameo role, overtakes its protagonist on a lonely beach. Unlike "Venice," however, "Venus" casts no sunset glow on the death of the actor Maurice, whose exit is both lonely and ignominious--a dirty business with a catheter tube and bag strapped to his leg.
"Venus," however, is laced with laughter as well as tears, as when the two once-famous thespian friends make the rounds of their old London haunts, including a church with the memorial plaques to long-dead actors, such as Laurence Harvey. When Maurice notes that the church is running out of wall space for such commemorations, his friend Ian--played with equal professionalism by Leslie Phillips--tells him wistfully that "Ian" is a very short name. One of the most touching lines, though, comes when the two revisit their elegant Edwardian club--apparently frequented by actors--and Ian remarks that he loves coming to the place, because it reminds him so much of what he might have been.
The acting, as is to be expected from such a cast, which includes Vanessa Redgrave as Maurice's long-neglected but still-loved wife, is superb. Peter O'Toole has the remarkable ability to inflict a mortal wound to the heart with a mere look. The expression on his face hardly changes, but his inner passion is so heartfelt that he conveys his emotion effortlessly. O'Toole's performance demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Hollywood establishment, which has failed to acknowledge his artistry properly for these many years."
Peter O'Toole's Swan Song
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 01/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What more can be said about Peter O'Toole's career? Not a lot. The legendary actor has appeared in many great roles and many great films. Yes, even a number of flops, but every great director and actor has had their share. Every single one, even Hitchcock, my hero. But when he is `on', O'Toole is simply unmatched by anyone in his generation. Richard Burton was earlier, Ian McKellan and Anthony Hopkins would come later.
From the mid 60s, when he made an incredible debut in "Lawrence of Arabia" through "What's New Pussycat?", "The Lion In Winter" and up to "My Favorite Year", O'Toole has shown he is equally comfortable in drama, epic, comedy and historical drama. He can play it fast, loose and carefree or he can evoke historical figures with all of the thespian powers he employs, holding his own with Katharine Hepburn, Alec Guiness, Richard Burton and many more.
A few years ago, O'Toole received an honorary Oscar, perhaps the Academy's way of hedging their bets and acknowledging his remarkable career. They may have been a bit hasty. The actor's latest film "Venus" is bound to earn O'Toole a nomination for Best Actor.
O'Toole plays Maurice, an aging actor who now takes bit parts in soap operas, usually as a dying Uncle or Grandfather, to keep a little income coming in. He supports his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave) who is ill and still lives in their old, ramshackle, badly in need of repairs home and carries a torch for her husband. One day, his friend, Ian (Leslie Phillips), an aging actor who also carries a torch for Maurice, announces his niece will be coming to live with him, to help with his care and daily life. On Maurice's next visit, he meets the young lady, Jessie (Jodie Whittaker) and becomes entranced with her looks, her coarse manner, and her unvarnished view of the world. He also learns Ian can't stand her and feels invaded. Maurice happily sets about coming up with ways to get her out of the house, so he can enjoy her company.
"Venus" is a fun film to watch because we get to see O'Toole do what he does best. The role isn't a stretch; clearly written to provide a showcase for his abilities, Maurice could easily be O'Toole if the actor were less well-known and had made some bad career choices. O'Toole plays an elderly actor who once played some memorable roles but now spends more time enjoying a good drink. Sounds like a stretch, doesn't it?
Even though his body has aged and he may be a little slower, O'Toole commands our attention from the moment he first appears on screen. This is Maurice's story; his life, his loves, his friends. In telling the story of a short period of his life, we get a capsule of his entire life, we extrapolate the events we witness and fill in the rest of his life.
It is a bravura performance and a fitting crown for his remarkable career.
Writer Hanif Kureishi ("My Beautiful Launderette") and director Roger Michell ("Notting Hill") have done a good job of crafting a showcase for O'Toole's skill. Once the story gets going, they simply get out of the way, which is a good thing. The story is simple, uncomplicated and flows along pleasantly. If anything, this uncomplicated nature makes the film resemble a BBC presentation. It seems a little small, a little low budget, as though they were hedging their bets. In case the film didn't turn out as well, they could always just show it on the BBC and BBC America and recoup some of their investment. But because it did work, the project earned a theatrical release.
"Venus" presents an example of one of our best actors showing us why he has earned a lifetime of acclaim. It is a film worthy of your time and attention. Peter O'Toole demands your time and attention. "
Jason Whiton | California | 03/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant film. So very funny. So very human. Beautifully filmed and acted. Enter this world and spend time with these characters. They will inspire laughter, connection and passion."