With some films there is a fine line, well actually a pretty thick line between romantic comedy and romantic drama. They each have a little of the other and depending on how the scales tip will define the overall feel. I personally tend to lean toward the comedy side when choosing a film to watch but am not apposed to something more serious. Last Chance Harvey has terrific acting and a fairly decent story. Enough so that this is an enjoyable film yet not an amazing film. Have you ever had a piece of cake in a restaurant that served its purpose and was eatable but didn’t bring the taste explosion you had hoped and certainly did not live up to an old family recipe? That sums this film up for sure.

Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is divorced, his career as a Television jingle music composer is nearing its death rattle and he just exists in life. He travels to London for his daughters wedding only to discover that the more he is around her and his ex wife the more like a failure he feels. When he meets a single, local survey taker named Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) they find they enjoy each others company if for nothing else to take their mind off their own misery. As Harvey deals with trying to reconnect with his daughter he is forced to take a few bold steps along the way. He proves to us all that the harder the walk many times the more beautiful the experience.

Hoffman always has a knack of making you feel what his character is going through. Whether in his posture or the tone of his voice you connect with him emotionally. That helps in a film like this. You need to sympathize with his character for this to work. Sure Harvey has made mistakes but that does not take away from the feelings you have for him. There is something in all of us that longs for acceptance and a removal of our guilt for the past. To clean the slate if you will. I believe that is Harvey’s journey in this and what drew me to him. As well, I love anything Emma Thompson does and it was easy to watch her in this role. She embraces her age and uses it to convey a realness and believability to roles like this, which is equally important.

There are a few funny moments in this. Many of them in the awkward realm. Luckily the drama is not so heavy that you feel exhausted before it is finished. It teeters along on a safe line which could be what kept it from being a better film. Unlike Harvey, it fails to take chances. Still, lovers of fine acting get two memorable performances here. I wasn’t sure how these two would work as a romantic couple. But they use their differences, like in height, instead of trying to pretend they do not exist. That too makes this a believable and watchable film.

Last Chance Harvey is rated PG-13 for brief strong language. It is tame I thought and other than the fact it deals with older adult issues it would be safe for younger age groups; though probably boring them to tears. I admired this film more than I liked it. Again, if you want more comedy or more Sparks like drama then you will be somewhat disappointed. If you want to walk the fine line between, then take a chance here. You may find something to enjoy and I give it 3 out of 5 wedding toasts.

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Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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