Anyone who’s seen the trailer for Last Chance Harvey can easily guess how it ends. In fact, the title alone is a clue. But the destination is hardly the point with movies like this; it’s the journey that counts, and this one is pretty entertaining. You could call director-writer Joel Hopkins’ film a romantic comedy, but it’s not especially robust in either of those departments. This is more of a character study, and veteran lead actors Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are well up to the task of bringing theirs to life. Both are awkward, lonely, social misfits. Hoffman’s Harvey Shine is a bit of a schlub; his gig as a jingle composer in jeopardy, estranged from his ex-wife (Kathy Baker) and daughter (Liane Balaban), he flies to London for the latter’s wedding, only to have her tell him that she has chosen her step-father (James Brolin) rather than him to give her away. Meanwhile, Kate Walker (Thompson) spends her days trying to survey harried travelers at Heathrow Airport, answering her meddling mother’s constant stream of cell phone calls, and awaiting the all-to-inevitable onset of spinsterhood. Harvey has already brushed her off once when, having put in a humiliating appearance at the wedding and missed his return flight to America, he runs into her in an airport bar. What ensues--the initial repartee and sarcastic snarking, the gradual breaking of the ice, the burgeoning attraction, the complications and misunderstandings--is entirely predictable. But it’s also well done. These are people one might actually identify with; when Kate tells him, "I’m more comfortable with being disappointed. I’m angry with you for trying to take that away," one senses a real person in there, which helps raise Last Chance Harvey above its conventions. --Sam Graham Fennessy
Get to Know the Cast From Last Chance Harvey
Dustin Hoffman (Harvey)
Emma Thompson (Kate)
Kathy Baker (Jean)
Beyond Last Chance Harvey on DVD
Stills from Last Chance Harvey (Click for larger image)
When it comes to love, is it ever too late to take a chance? Academy Award® winners “Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are perfect together in a movie that reminds us that true love, can indeed, come to those who wait” (Sandy Kenyon, WABC-TV).