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An Awfully Big Adventure

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Editorial Reviews

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 director to her first sexual encounter with the show's biggest star, young Stella Bradshaw quickly discovers what it takes to make it in the theater.

An intriguing blend of comedy and passion this provocative story is a hilarious look at what really goes on when the lights go down.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Georgina Cates
  • Directors: Mike Newell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007P0XA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,356 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An Awfully Big Adventure" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

140 of 144 people found the following review helpful By dooby on April 25, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By NYriversider on June 10, 2005
Format: DVD
I'd have to concur with many of the reviewers here in their thoughts of this film. I started with certain expectations because of the film adverts. As often happens when a film already has a form in your mind, I had trouble with the lack of synergy between what was described and what I viewed. Had no one said anything but this is a foreign film full of quircky characters and a non-formulaic plot, I'd have enjoyed the first viewing much more. The actors are completely brilliant and if you accept their characters with all their quircky and often sad flaws, this film is more of a tragedy with a cast of eccentric (and often very funny) characters. After setting aside and coming back to it, I found I really enoyed this movie. And it's true, each viewing seems to show another layer or has me focus on another character. Rickman's performance is pun intended. :-) And incredible that a woman the age of (rumor has it) at least 30+ if not 40's) was able to carry off the role of the very affecting Stella.

I love Hugh Grant's character who appears to be the 'bad guy' but finally you're left wondering if he didn't just speed along the inevitable. He's still a bit of a conundrum, because he's surely written to be unlikable but is that a challenge to the moviegoer to see past the veneer, or is the veneer all their is...hmm... Oy I'm getting dizzy. :-)

I really think this rates high in the quicky foreign film category and perhaps not quite an Ameilie but certainly had it been marketed more in that vein the right audience and movie would have found each other!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Kilbourne on May 6, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant are spectacular in this film. It's a dark, tragic comedy for those of us with a dry sense of humor. Many reviewers, I've noticed don't think this film funny at all, but there are amusing bits if you enjoy dark humor. This film, taking place in the 1940's, deals with the inner-workings, the darker side if you will, of the theater buisness. Stella (Georgina Cates) is a naive young girl trying to make her way in the buisness. She quickly falls in love with Meredith Potter (Hugh Grant)and begins her journey in the industry. This film deals with love, sex, death, alcoholism and much more. Any fan of Alan Rickman will certainly enjoy his superb acting in the film, same goes for Hugh Grant fans. This is an excellent addition to your dvd library.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Allan M. Lees on September 27, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In the days before Hugh Grant became a romantic comedy icon, it turns out that he could act, and act he does in this marvellous little vignette period-piece. Here he plays an effete theater director with a penchant for picking up men and then discarding them in the cruellest possible manner. He has assembled, for a short repertory season in the Liverpool of 1957, a cast of has-beens, alcoholics, and other assorted misfits, including the naif fourtnee-year-old Stella who dreams of becoming a posh starlet.

The supporting cast all turn in solid performances, but what really brings the film alive is when Alan Rickman steps into the story about one-third of the way in. This is Rickman in his prime: electrifying, nuanced, darkly compelling yet subtly self-mocking at the same time. It is exceedingly difficult for an actor to play an actor, because the "visible ham" element can too easily become, accidentally, "risible ham." The entire cast generally manage to pull off this balancing act par excellence, but Rickman does it best of all. He exudes sexuality even when dressed as Captain Hook in the pantomime version of Peter Pan. It's no surprise that several of the ladies of the cast would like to rekindle old acquaintances.

But the Rickman character's tragic secret (he believes he has a son, born to him many years before by a woman he knew only as Stella Maris) turns Greek-tragedy like into his denouement. The naif Stella, whom he seduces almost instantly because he is drawn to her by some alchemical attraction, turns out to be... none other than his daughter. Struck by this Oedipal twist, Rickman puts in a performance that needs to be watched several times over to be fully appreciated. In genuine grief and shock, his actor character takes recourse to cliched dramatic gesture.
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