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An Awfully Big Adventure (1995)

Hugh Grant , Alan Rickman , Mike Newell  |  R |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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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 (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007P0XA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #115,527 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An Awfully Big Adventure" on IMDb

Special Features


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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
137 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely, Sad Movie... woefully misleading adverts April 25, 2005
By dooby
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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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awfully good January 21, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
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.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poignant coming-of-age tale goes strangely astray. April 14, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
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.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By Cappy
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw An Awfully Big Adventure on TV at two o'clock in the morning. It made very little sense, and I couldn't understand about a third of what was being said, but the movie still, as another reviewer succinctly put it, "hijacked my consciousness." It was subtle, honest, unforgiving, amazingly well-acted, and a lot of other good things that I can't find the words for right now.
I recently purchased a copy of the video, and realize now that while it loses nothing upon further viewing, An Awfully Big Adventure benefits greatly from a second watching. The dialogue becomes clearer the more you listen to it and the nuances of the characters and the story become more pronounced. Even though my first reaction to the film was favorable, I still think that one cannot judge this movie fairly after only seeing it once (although if you enjoyed it the first time, you probably will again). I have a feeling that nearly all of the reviews here are by first-time watchers, and while you shouldn't entirely discredit their remarks, keep in mind that, like most complex movies, An Awfully Big Adventure only gets better the more you watch it.
I also feel that it cannot be stressed enough that this is not a happy, uplifting movie. "Disturbing" is a word used often to describe it, but the word that comes to my mind is "uncomfortable." There's really nothing at the end of the film to redeem all of the sadness, as is common in most movies. Thus, if you don't like to watch depressing movies, DON'T WATCH AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE. And if you're an Alan Rickman or Hugh Grant fan (both of whom are great) and insist upon seeing it, don't write a review that discourages others from watching it just because it was too dark for your tastes.
*I haven't read the novel of the same title by Beryl Bainbridge, but I've heard that it helps to clarify the confusing points in the movie, besides being a good book. Just a thought...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars finally there is a role that seems appropriate for hugh grant--can't...
this is a poorly named movie, but it has the same name as the book, so what can be said? finally there is a role that seems appropriate for hugh grant--can't say that i like him... Read more
Published 26 days ago by corgi fan
4.0 out of 5 stars An Awfully Mislabeled Movie.
Every now and then a movie comes along that the people distributing the film have no idea how to promote. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chip Kaufmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story with an unexpected ending
Love any and all Alan Rickman works! The ending of this movie is totally heartbreaking and very, very believable given the circumstances.
Published 7 months ago by stella maris-martin
3.0 out of 5 stars Great acting but didn't like storyline
This film is not as it was hyped. It is not a comedy, although there are some humorous moments. Rather, it is troubling, often painful to watch. Read more
Published 7 months ago by MissPammy
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awfully Big Adventure
I love Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman's work. So when I saw this movie I knew I would just love it. The synopisis on the cover listed it as a comedy. So I was prepared to laugh. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kathleen Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare and subtle film from another time
I first watched this film in 1995 when it was first released, and I recall feeling slightly underwhelmed and unhappy about the ending. Read more
Published 12 months ago by caroline
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't like, boring and pretentious...
I didn't like this one, it was boring , pretentious, tedious. I do not recommend it, even if you want to go to sleep, you would be too annoyed to sleep, and to bored to watch it.
Published 15 months ago by Song weaver
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Loved the movie... Been waiting years to see it and it did not disappoint!!! What more can I say... Its got Alan Rickman!!!
Published 15 months ago by FireArcher84
3.0 out of 5 stars The most misleading jacket cover ever!
You would have to be disturbed to say that this is a warm hearted comedy. That said the performances in this warped story were the redeeming feature. Read more
Published 17 months ago by T. Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars Great condition - am finding it boring
The DVD arrived very timely after I ordered it. The case is in perfect condition. I have not watched the entire movie, but what I have watched of it, the DVD works fine. Read more
Published on July 17, 2012 by Wendy E. Haydon
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