My Thoughts On… Last Chance Harvey

Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to the section titled Why Should You See This Film? where you will find no spoilers!


In London for his daughter’s wedding, a rumpled man finds his romantic spirits lifted by a new woman in his life. (via IMDb)

What I Liked

  • I might not exactly be the target audience for a film like this; you can tell that it is very much geared towards a more aging audience – Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson are not spring chickens and so their love affair isn’t setting out to attract a oung audience. But I have to say that I found it utterly charming; it’s a slow and gentle love affair rather than a passionate and heady one, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Central to my enjoyment has to be the performances of the two leads. Dustin Hoffman is always good value for money, and here he plays the rumpled, slightly down-on-his-luck older gentleman who gets the rough end of his stick at his daughter’s wedding. But it’s Emma Thompson who really blows me away, as she does in almost every film she is in. Her character, Kate, is sad and lonely, but warm and funny, and so much of that is down to the fabulous performance that Emma Thompson puts in. When is ever anything less than brilliant?
  • Talking of Kate, one of the reasons why I liked her so much is because I felt so connected to her, and could see many similarities between her and me. The scene in which she’s at the pub on a blind date was so realistic for me, because I’ve been there (though not on a blind date), sitting silently, feeling awkward, and eventually skulking away without anyone really noticing I’ve gone. Kate’s also a reader and a writer; a girl after my own heart.
  • I didn’t realise that the entire film was going to be set in London; so that was a pleasant surprise. It was also nice to see a lot of familiar faces popping up from British television. This is a similar reason why I really love watching The Wedding Date; that film is slightly ridiculous, contrived and predictable, but I love hearing all the authentic British accents in a Hollywood film. In Last Chance Harvey, I noticed actors from Coronation Street, Holby City, and The Office.
  • It’s always nice to see Richard Schiff, even if he’s only in two scenes, and he’s being an idiot.
  • As a romcom, this is a fairly predictable film. There are no major surprises, the plot follows a fairly conventional route, and things end more or less as you might expect them to. But I liked that it avoided certain clichés; in another romantic comedy, Kate would catch the bouquet at the wedding, and she’d look at her watch as she waited for Harvey. She doesn’t, and I was glad about that.

What I Didn’t Like

  • There’s no denying that Eileen Atkins is a fantastic and well respected actress, and as Kate’s mother, she definitely had a role to play here. But there was no need to introduce a slightly odd subplot in which she was suspicious of her Polish neighbour. It just didn’t seem to fit, and any time that was spent on that just felt as though it was wasted.

Why Should You See This Film?

The best way I can describe Last Chance Harvey is to call it charming. It really is a lovely little film, and while it doesn’t really do anything new and exciting for the romantic comedy genre, it’s so inoffensive and sweet that you can’t really lose if you’re a romcom devotee. Anyone who is a fan of Emma Thompson will definitely enjoy it, as she puts in a fantastic performance (as ever), and I ended the film wanting to be her friend (as ever). It’s on Netflix, so it’s readily available if you have a subscription. Let me know what you think if you do watch it!

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  • Reply Kim Callaghan (@KimmieRed)

    We watched it last year, and enjoyed it. You have described it perfectly because like you say, it is charming and inoffensive. I wonder how good it would have been it it hadn’t been the lovely Emma though?

    January 24, 2014 at 7:43 am
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