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5.0 1
Director: Roger Michell

Cast: Peter O'Toole, Leslie Phillips, Jodie Whittaker


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An aging pair of veteran English actors whose success never quite took hold finds their quiet existence suddenly interrupted by the arrival of one of the men's precocious grandnieces in director Roger Michell's affectionate comedy drama. Maurice (Peter O'Toole) and Ian (Leslie


An aging pair of veteran English actors whose success never quite took hold finds their quiet existence suddenly interrupted by the arrival of one of the men's precocious grandnieces in director Roger Michell's affectionate comedy drama. Maurice (Peter O'Toole) and Ian (Leslie Phillips) may still land the occasional paying gig -- Maurice has recently been cast as a corpse in a popular television drama -- but for the most part, their days are spent cataloging their ailments over meals at their favorite café. Though the arrival of Ian's grandniece Jessie doesn't immediately set so well with her curmudgeonly great uncle, Maurice takes an immediate liking to the girl, and makes it a mission to expose the youngster to some of the bustling capitol's best-known sights. As the newly invigorated septuagenarian does his best to teach the wide-eyed youngster a thing or two about life, he soon comes to realize just how little he truly knows about the subject at such a late point in life.

Editorial Reviews

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For anyone who thought Peter O'Toole might have died around the same time as other British thespians like Alec Guinness and John Gielgud (who are actually decades his senior), Venus returns quite the opposite verdict. In fact, O'Toole -- who has worked steadily in secondary roles and minor films -- is so effective here, he was the sentimental favorite to finally win his first Oscar, which eventually went to Forest Whitaker. Had it happened, it would have been no mere token of respect. What's so thrilling about his work in Venus, the story of an aged actor utterly bedeviled by a girl barely out of her teens (Jodie Whittaker), is just how creepy he's willing to be. The brilliant balancing act of his performance is that he's not merely a lifelong ladies' man who refuses to retire. He's also a real letch, pursuing a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. Not only does he know and embrace this, but he manages to make the audience forgive and actually laugh with him -- even though he might come across as a pedophile under a different lens. Thankfully, Roger Michell's film is not the story of a bitter fight against aging, which would have been too obvious by half. It's the story of a man who doesn't even consider age an impediment to his desires, and is somehow liberated by that fact. This isn't to say O'Toole's Maurice doesn't have his share of pathetic episodes -- they just aren't tied exclusively to the fact that he's a septuagenarian perv. In the film's other key performance, Whittaker goes toe to toe with O'Toole. She's especially effective in gradually revealing Jessie's erotic magnetism, seeming anything but enchanting in her first scene, as she lies about on the couch spitting vitriol at her elders.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter O'Toole Maurice
Leslie Phillips Ian
Jodie Whittaker Jessie
Richard Griffiths Donald
Vanessa Redgrave Valerie

Technical Credits
Roger Michell Director
David Arnold Score Composer
Daniel Battsek Executive Producer
Sally Caplan Executive Producer
Nicolas Gaster Editor
Danny Hambrook Sound/Sound Designer
John Paul Kelly Production Designer
Miles Ketley Executive Producer
Hanif Kureishi Screenwriter
Kevin Loader Producer
Emma Macdevitt Art Director
Barrie McCulloch Asst. Director
Charles Moore Executive Producer
Corinne Bailey Rae Score Composer
Tessa Ross Executive Producer
Scott Rudin Executive Producer
Natalie Ward Costumes/Costume Designer
Fiona Weir Casting
Haris Zambarloukos Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Venus
1. Opening Credits/Aging [6:48]
2. Jessie [4:53]
3. Overindulgence [4:07]
4. "A Corpse More or Less" [5:42]
5. A Modeling Job [6:06]
6. Will to Live [8:20]
7. Theoretical Interest [5:59]
8. Pleasure [12:57]
9. Goodbyes [9:08]
10. Easily Tempted [5:53]
11. A Little Walk [5:12]
12. Venus [4:29]
13. A Much Better Idea [4:35]
14. Carry On [4:50]
15. End Credits [5:32]


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Venus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
And so reflects 70-something Maurice (Peter O'Toole) about the importance of beauty and searching for love as the only significant goals as life races by him. VENUS is a small miracle of a film written by Hanif Kureishi ('My Beautiful Laundrette') about the isolation and inner devastation of growing old in today's society. What could have been a morose, whining diatribe about the cruelties of advancing age and the manner in which we treat the elderly becomes a window into the psyche of older characters whose lives have meant something - if to no one else but themselves. Three old thespian friends and colleagues (Maurice, Ian - Leslie Phillips and Donald - Richard Griffiths) spend there days reading obits, sharing pills and recalling the days of their acting glory. Maurice has not given up as he still performs as old characters in films and continues his lifelong libidinous longing for beautiful females. Ian fears death from hypertension and agrees to have his niece's daughter Jessie (Jodie Whittaker) move in to care for him. But the coarse, crude, and rude Jessie drives Ian to distraction and Ian seeks Maurice's aid in diverting Jessie's time to activity away from her home care service. The story thus opens the way to examine the needs and desires of both Maurice and the very young Jessie, each finding a sense of solace, friendship and a new kind of love despite their extreme age differences. Maurice continues to visit his ex-wife Valerie (Vanessa Redgrave) whenever he needs a connection to reality: these encounters speak more about the continuity of love once splintered than in almost any prior film. In a story that could have focused on aged lechery and youthful opportunism this film, as directed by Roger Michell, instead elects to find the path toward beauty that underlines the needs of disparate people. The performance by O'Toole is staggeringly superb and the remainder of this small cast (Redgrave, Griffiths, Phillips - all long admired, seasoned pros - and Whittaker, a very promising new face) is top notch. The writing and directing and acting in this film is at the peak of excellence - there really isn't anything else. Grady Harp