Last Chance Harvey

Last Chance Harvey

4.2 14
Director: Joel Hopkins

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker

     
 

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A disastrous trip to London proves to have a silver lining for a middle-aged American jingle writer in this romantic slice-of-life drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Harvey (Hoffman) is about to lose his unfulfilling dead-end job writing jingles when he boards a plane to attend his daughter's wedding in London. He hasn't turned out a memorable tune in… See more details below

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Overview

A disastrous trip to London proves to have a silver lining for a middle-aged American jingle writer in this romantic slice-of-life drama starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. Harvey (Hoffman) is about to lose his unfulfilling dead-end job writing jingles when he boards a plane to attend his daughter's wedding in London. He hasn't turned out a memorable tune in some time, and should Harvey fail to come up with something catchy during his trip overseas, he knows that his boss (Richard Schiff) is ready and willing to let him go. Upon arriving in London, Harvey is devastated to learn that his daughter (Liane Balaban) has opted to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle instead of him. And things are about to get worse, too. Harvey realizes that he won't be able to suppress his sadness through the whole reception, and makes a quick getaway in hopes of catching a plane back home. Perhaps if he can attend an important meeting on Monday morning, his boss will have some sympathy and grant him a momentary reprieve. No such luck, however, because when Harvey misses the flight and calls his boss to explain, he is fired over the phone. Later, at the airport bar, Harvey is drowning his sorrows when he strikes up a conversation with no-nonsense Office of National Statistics employee Kate (Thompson). Kate doesn't have much of a social life; most of her time outside of work is spent suffocating under the love of her smothering mother (Eileen Atkins). She's just gotten through a humiliating string of blind dates, and something about Harvey's situation and demeanor strikes a sympathetic chord in the lonely civil servant. Likewise, Kate's intelligence and compassion prove unexpectedly invigorating to Harvey. Both Harvey and Kate had always assumed that love had passed them by -- could this middle-aged romance be the glimmer of a new beginning?

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
With his bittersweet romantic comedy Last Chance Harvey, writer/director Joel Hopkins takes the famous line from Casablanca -- about the problems of two people not amounting to a hill of beans -- deeply to heart. Dustin Hoffman plays Harvey, a jingle writer, who flies to London for his estranged daughter's wedding just as he learns he will lose his job if he doesn't secure a big account. He's a nebbish, but he's so full of seething anger that he often lashes out at people with sarcastic verbal jabs that he invariably apologizes for, usually right after they leave his lips. One of his first victims after he lands in the U.K. is a customer service airline rep named Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), who wants him to fill out a questionnaire. Because he's so keyed up to see his daughter, he blows Kate off with a terse "I'm tired." However, Harvey's dreams are crushed when he learns that he's staying in a different hotel than the wedding party, and when, during the rehearsal dinner, his daughter tells him that she wants her stepfather to give her away during the ceremony. While that disastrous evening transpires, Kate goes on a terrible blind date that ends when the guy runs into some friends and decides he'd much rather hang out with them. The next day, these two lonely souls meet again in an airport lounge. Bolstered by a stiff drink, he's eager to complain about his awful life, and, because she feels sympathy for his sad story, she listens. And thus begins the possibility of second chances for both of them. This is the kind of movie that lives or dies on the acting -- there's nothing new about the script, although it's a solid piece of writing, and the camerawork never calls attention to itself. Everything about the movie exists so that audiences can focus on the main characters' emotions, and Hoffman and Thompson are both such gifted naturalists that this very simple story goes down smoothly. The two of them are a great match -- her British reserve soothes his barely contained nervous energy, while his truthfulness opens her up. Sure, you could accuse the material of being remarkably insubstantial, especially for actors of this caliber, but if you take no pleasure from watching this pair of gifted performers work together, then you wouldn't be drawn to a movie like this in the first place. If the film were pitched at higher level of intensity -- if it promised great drama or riotous laughter -- then it would be an epic disappointment. But, because it remains steadfastly modest, Last Chance Harvey has enough low-key charm to satisfy.

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Product Details

Release Date:
05/05/2009
UPC:
0013138001696
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Starz / Anchor Bay
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
24,246

Special Features

Disc 1: ; Widescreen presentation of the film; An Unconventional Love Story: The Making of Last Chance Harvey; Audio commentary with writer/director Joel Hopkins, Academy Award winners Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson; Theatrical trailer ; ; Disc 2: ; Full-frame presentation of feature film

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dustin Hoffman Harvey Shine
Emma Thompson Kate Walker
Kathy Baker Jean
James Brolin Brian
Eileen Atkins Maggie Walker
Liane Balaban Susan
Richard Schiff Marvin
Timothy Howar Johnnie
Wendy Mae Brown Aggie
Bronagh Gallagher Oonagh
Jeremy Sheffield Matt
Daniel Lapaine Scott
Patrick Baladi Simon
Adam James Josh Hillman
Michael Landes Peter Turner
Jamie Sives Doctor Butler
Kate Harper Jill
Angela Griffin Melissa
Alex Avery Andrew
Tim Ahern Barry
Charlotte Lucas Gwen

Technical Credits
Joel Hopkins Director,Screenwriter
Francisco Alberto Makeup
Suzanne Austin Art Director
Neal Champion Special Effects Supervisor
Julie Dartnell Makeup
John DeBorman Cinematographer
Ali Farrell Casting
Elaine Grainger Casting
Jon Henson Production Designer
Jon Henson Production Designer
Michael Hill Musical Direction/Supervision
Dickon Hinchliffe Score Composer
Mark Holding Sound/Sound Designer
Jawal Nga Executive Producer
Tim Perell Producer
Laura Rosenthal Casting
Robin Sales Editor
Nicola Usborne Producer
Natalie Ward Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Last Chance Harvey: Widescreen Version
1. No More Chances/Main Title [6:42]
2. Lonely Arrival [7:34]
3. Awkward Introductions [4:00]
4. Nothing in Common [4:19]
5. Outside Looking In [8:04]
6. Heavy Traffic [3:06]
7. Lunch for Two [7:06]
8. Escorted to School [6:06]
9. Going As Friends [8:04]
10. Eloquent Toast [5:53]
11. Dance Partners [6:51]
12. Noon Rendezvous [4:48]
13. Irregular Heartbeats [3:12]
14. Harvey's Last Chance [4:51]
15. "I Think You're My Kind of Girl" [6:32]
16. End Credits [5:20]
Disc #2 -- Last Chance Harvey: Full Screen Version
1. No More Chances/Main Title [6:42]
2. Lonely Arrival [7:34]
3. Awkward Introductions [4:00]
4. Nothing in Common [4:19]
5. Outside Looking In [8:04]
6. Heavy Traffic [3:06]
7. Lunch for Two [7:06]
8. Escorted to School [6:06]
9. Going As Friends [8:04]
10. Eloquent Toast [5:53]
11. Dance Partners [6:51]
12. Noon Rendezvous [4:48]
13. Irregular Heartbeats [3:12]
14. Harvey's Last Chance [4:51]
15. "I Think You're My Kind of Girl" [6:32]
16. End Credits [5:20]

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