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Last Chance Harvey

4.0 out of 5 stars 205 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A struggling New York jingle writer (Dustin Hoffman) and a lonely British bureaucrat (Emma Thompson) meet by chane in London and transform one another's lives.

Amazon.com

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)


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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker, James Brolin
  • Directors: Joel Hopkins
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen, Anamorphic
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Anchor Bay - ITN
  • DVD Release Date: May 5, 2009
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015OKWKS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,024 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Last Chance Harvey" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Watching "Last Chance Harvey," I began to think about other such films and realized that I usually referred to them in my reviews as classic romantic comedies. But what exactly do I mean when I say that? In all likelihood, I mean that readers should go easy on the film because we're used to those movies following a very specific formula, and never mind the fact that they're contrived and cliché. I could very well call "Last Chance Harvey" a classic romantic comedy, because goodness knows it adheres to a tried and true structure. In spite of that, this is the one romantic comedy of 2008 that works the best, in large part because of stars Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson; whereas other filmmakers would cast young, energetic actors in a story about sex, writer/director Joel Hopkins has cast two older actors in a story is about love. Because they're more experienced, they actually bring something to the table. They seem genuine as people.

But more importantly, they have chemistry, not necessarily as lovers but definitely as companions. In other words, it seems plausible that such people could meet in real life and fall in love. Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a jingle writer from New York who always wanted to be a jazz pianist. It was easy for me to empathize with him, a somber, soft-spoken man who always feels ignored in a large crowd. Maybe there's a part of him that wanted it that way; he's been known to embarrass himself and those closest to him, so at a certain point, it's better to just stay out of the way. He openly admits that he wasn't the greatest father or husband, and while there's no hostility between him or his daughter and ex-wife, there is a quiet yet prominent sense of disappointment on all accounts. And now, no one at his music company seems to be taking him seriously.
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Format: DVD
By no means do I damn with faint praise when suggesting that this is a "small" film. Rather, only to suggest that it covers a brief period of time (a few days), in a single setting (London), focuses primarily on only two characters, and there few plot developments. Briefly, Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is employed by an advertising agency in Manhattan as a jingle writer when we are introduced to him. Almost immediately we sense that he is dissatisfied with both his career (he would prefer to earn a living as a jazz composer and performer) and with the current state of his life (he is divorced and apparently alienated from his adult daughter, Susan, who is about to be married in London). The title refers to both situations: Charley is advised by his boss Marvin (Richard Schiff who played the character Toby Ziegler on the television program, The West Wing) that his job is in jeopardy. After a very brief encounter upon arrival at Heathrow Airport with Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) seeking to obtain travel information from passengers, Harvey is saddened to learn from Susan (Liane Balaban) that she has decided that her stepfather Brian (James Brolin) will accompany her down the aisle. Of course, Harvey encounters Kate again and then....

The acting is outstanding. The setting is especially appropriate for what happens to a troubled New Yorker, among strangers in a strange city, at a time when he is running out of options in all areas of his life. Kate has concerns of her own but seems less troubled, probably because she fulfills at least some needs by comforting and reassuring her mother Maggie Walker (Eileen Atkins) who calls her constantly throughout the day (and evening), concerned about trivial matters.
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I understand that most people that go to movies are in their early 20's and the movie makers knowing this,aim their films for that audience generally,but this is a wonderful surprise.

A charming story of people at an older age that have hit many dead ends in life but because of chance,they discover that life doesn't have to be done, there can be a future filled with the excitement that you might feel only lived in the past.

With the two great actors,Dustin Hoffman & Emma Thompson and a wonderful supporting cast,this is a very well made movie that I feel has the legs to stand up for viewings in the future and still have that same warmth and heart.

I think that some of the twenty somethings that might see this now and write it off as silly,could very well see this film in several years and view it very differently after they gain some of the experience and disappointments that life brings.

I really feel this could be viewed as a classic in the future,
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Format: DVD
This movie is wonderful. I have to comment on some of the criticisms I have seen here--if you are looking for belly laughs and lousy computer generated effects,take your short attention span back to your x-box. This movie is a beautiful exercise in real story telling. These two seasoned actors bring incredible meaning and depth to a movie about real things that happen to people in real life. I was touched by the obvious and not so obvious messages in this story and feel it was, for me, a much awaited change from the fast-paced, meaningless bumblers Hollywood keeps ralphing out. Very well done--and thanks to Hoffman and Thompson for taking me along for the stroll. I needed the fresh air...
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