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Is Anybody There? (2008)

Michael Caine , Bill Milner , John Crowley  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Bill Milner, David Morrissey
  • Directors: John Crowley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002LBKE0C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Is Anybody There?" on IMDb

Special Features

Deleted Scenes
Commentary

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Seventy-six-year-old Michael Caine and 13-year-old Bill Milner (Son of Rambow) make a fine comedy-drama team in Is Anybody There?, a touching if predictable story about taking a chance on human contact in a sea of loneliness, regret and death. Caine plays Clarence, a retired magician forced to take up residence in a home for seniors. Despite his anger and indignation, Clarence establishes a relationship with Edward (Milner), the only child of a financially-strapped couple who reluctantly turned their home into a care facility. Surrounded by old people who die off with some frequency, Edward develops a fascination with the afterlife and ghosts. For a while, Clarence humors him, particularly in a memorable séance scene where the old man applies his illusionist skills to entertain Edward. But, for the most part, Clarence spends his time trying to draw Edward out of his morbid fixation and accept--as Clarence has with some cynicism--that when life comes to an end, that's it. Director John Crowley (Boy A) does not avoid the tougher elements of this relationship story, particularly the way Edward has to watch Clarence slowly disintegrate, a broken man seeking forgiveness for all the things he considers unforgivable. But Crowley also has fun with the crazy life pool of Edward's house--the gaggle of elders who sing together and watch television and dance. The supporting cast includes some very familiar faces: Rosemary Harris (Spider-Man), Sylvia Sims, Leslie Phillips. Predictable as Is Anybody There? can be at times, the final act takes a surprising turn and is truly moving. --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Ten-year-old Edward lives in his family-run retirement home. While his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat and his father copes
with the onset of a mid-life crisis, Edward leads an increasingly lonely existence until he meets Clarence (Michael Caine), a retired magician and grieving widower, who refuses to give in gracefully to old age. The two strike up an unlikely friendship which helps them both remember that magic is possible when life is lived to its fullest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Blu, great performance November 17, 2009
Format:Blu-ray
Probably one of the lowest activity films this year on Blu that ended up looking this pristine. Michael Caine's performance was outstanding from beginning to end, but unfortunately he is not in every scene.

The story follows a young boy as he deals with his life of living at a retirement home in the 1980s UK (that his parents manage for income). I had to have subtitles on as the accents and slang were unintelligible throughout. Caine plays a retired magician and self appointed resident to this home who inevitably befriends this young loner. Over the course of the film these two unlikely characters impart upon each other their little nuances and knowledge of life. Extremely slow moving at times and unlikely in others, what makes this movie tangible is the believability of Caine's borderline senility meets second chance in a dead end home role.

The Blu clarity is outstanding. I even paused it in the most of unlikely places and the line definition was ideal for the scenes. Even in the near dark basement scene there was no pixelation or blur. The DTS was perfect, and the subliminal/background noises of the old folks home played through no matter what part of the house the scene was taking place. The only supplement was made up of a few forgettable deleted scenes.

Not a mainstream appeal film by any means, but the performances were believable by all involved. The Blu sells itself but in an unlikely film of sorts. Four for the Blu and the story.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Caine Fans Give the Movie an Extra Star May 13, 2009
"Is Anybody There" is a 2008 production of British Broadcasting Corporation Films that has achieved a theatrical, art house release in the United States. It runs 95 minutes, was written by Peter Harness, directed by John Crowley, and stars that wonderful actor Michael Caine.

It is set in 1980's seaside England: it looks/sounds like the North of England to me, and concerns the interactions of Caine, playing the Amazing Clarence (Parkinson), retired magician, unwillingly taking up residence in an old people's home; and Edward (Bill Milner), an unusual ten year old boy who's fascinated by death, and well-placed to investigate that fascination, as he's growing up in the old people's home that's run by his parents.

Anne-Marie Duff plays Edward's Mum; David Morrissy, his Dad. The home is populated by a veritable stock company of well-known older English actors: considering the prevalence of plastic surgery, they might well have been made-up to look older, as Caine might have been. (The man seems to have no personal vanity.) They include Rosemary Harris as Elsie, Leslie Phillips as Reg, Elizabeth Spriggs as Prudence (it was her last picture); Sylvia Syms as Lilian, and that North of England stalwart, Peter Vaughan, as Bob. Speaking of which, you can cut the North of England accents in this picture with a knife: subtitles would sure have been helpful. Despite which, the acting is uniformly very good.

Conservative Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister in the 1980's, and this film is apparently set on her watch; it might have had some political thoughts. Thatcher's governance was noted for great, although costly in human terms, improvements in the British economy, and I'm a little surprised to see this setting of the family-run nursing home at that time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible film and a must see October 17, 2011
By jzactor
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this film, beautifully acted by Michael Caine! I think it is one of his best roles ever, bringing honesty and a real sense of what aging means and how people get old and cope, and how regrets become a part of the emotional landscape of people as they do so. I am glad I now have a copy of this film to wathc and share with others as I get tolder. it gives a sense of being understood to whoever wathces it and it also serves as fine story for people of all ages, too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A charming little film about life and death. And badgers. February 25, 2011
Format:DVD
Is Anybody There? is one of those films that shows that it's truly better to have a small budget with a good story and people who know their craft than to have a big budget with a mediocre story and people who don't. It's a charming little film that didn't make a big splash at the box office but is now being discovered on DVD by word of mouth.

The film is set in what was once generally referred to as an "old folks home" in rural Britain in the 1980's. The center of the story is a ten-year-old boy named Edward who lives there because his Mum (Anne-Marie Duff) and Dad (David Morrisey) run the place, with the help of a hired-girl named Tanya (Linzey Cocker). It's a marginal existence and the strains on the family are readily visible. Mum is harried and exhausted from carryig the lion's share of the load of running the place and looking after the home's various elderly residents, each with their various quirks, problems and eccentricities. Dad, barely half-hearted when it comes to shouldering his share of the load, is going through a mid-life crisis, trying to make himself look - and feel - younger as he gives unwanted attentions to Tanya. And then there's Edward himself (Bill Milner, who stole the show in the equally underseen Son Of Rambow), a lonely boy with no real friends who's become obsessed with death and the afterlife because barely a month goes by without one or two of the home's residents passing on.

Into this quietly desperate situation comes Clarence (marvelously played by Michael Caine), a retired stage magician who's been sent to the home - much against his wishes - after the death of his wife.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected
I kept watching hoping it would get better, but to be honest it never did. The script tried hard to make some of the scenes humorous and maybe it will appeal to some, however I... Read more
Published 5 months ago by c maxwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film
I finally got a chance to sit down and watch this movie and it was just as good as I thought it was going to be. Michael Caine is a wonderful actor, no matter what movie he is in. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Beth Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Michael Caine was A M A Z I N G
Excellent movie, a few twists and turns, I played 'Mavis', would recommend this movie, 10/10 spend all afternoon chatting to Michael whilst I was on set with him
Published 18 months ago by Angela Inwards
3.0 out of 5 stars DVD Is anybody there?
Very upset that it was fixed to an area .... USA and Cananda and so it would not play in England. I didn't see a notice to this effect on the advert. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Liz
3.0 out of 5 stars The Answer is Yes
Edward (Bill Milner) lives in an old people's home his Mum (Anne-Marie Duff) and Dad (David Morrissey) run in a large old house in rural England. Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by Barbara Frederick
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Film
I am a huge fan of "Harold & Maude" and have never found a movie to equal it until this one. Since you don't need another review outlining the plot (too many of them here already),... Read more
Published on September 3, 2011 by CindyN
3.0 out of 5 stars More sweet than bitter
Michael Caine, as always, gives a superb performance in this sweet movie about a young boy, surrounded by old age and death, coming to terms with the inevitable aging process. Read more
Published on April 20, 2011 by Judy Croome
3.0 out of 5 stars We're here, the film wasn't entirely
It's unfortunate that this film didn't succeed entirely in providing the viewer with something concrete to walk away with. Read more
Published on March 10, 2011 by David M. Rossi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift Of Compassion Humanity and Hope
In this exquisite indie, a wonderful ensemble of fine veteran English actors have given us a gift of deep compassion and great humanity on the very difficult and dreaded time of... Read more
Published on December 3, 2010 by Lindsay N. Bowker
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull Movie, Poor Audio
"Are You There?" had a dull lifeless feel and audio problems. The story focuses on a nursing home in England that is located on the cold windy English Coast. Read more
Published on November 18, 2010 by Loyd E. Eskildson
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