Emma Thompson takes a chance on love in “Last Chance Harvey”


I go to see romantic comedies somewhat grudgingly because I like to pretend to be stoic about being perpetually single, and I know that by the end of the movie I’m going to be crying like a lovesick puppy. But in the case of Last Chance Harvey, I might as well just grab a box of tissues and go. I simply cannot resist Emma Thompson.

In Last Chance Harvey, Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is a musician and jingle writer who goes to London to attend his daughter’s wedding. Once he gets there, he learns that she wants her stepfather to give her away. Then he learns he’s lost his job. Harvey needs a friend.

After missing his flight home, Harvey meets Kate (Thompson), and the two get to know each other as they stroll along the Thames.

Eventually, Kate convinces Harvey that they should go together to his daughter’s wedding reception, which is still going on despite the fact that enough time has passed for Harvey to go to the airport, try to catch his plane, have a drink and a chat with Kate, and walk around London. Oh, and then they shop for a dress for Kate to wear to the reception.

But this is a movie, after all, so the couple gets to the party in time for Harvey to make an emotional speech that melts his daughter’s heart and reminds her that she loves her dad.

We don’t see many films in which two people of a certain age fall in love — and that’s a shame, really. People who have loved and lost a few times tend to know who they are and what they want, so they approach relationships differently than when they were younger. What we see in Last Chance Harvey is a connection between two ordinary people who don’t expect more from each other than a pleasant afternoon. Discovering that more is possible surprises them both.

What’s not surprising is that Hoffman and Thompson give great performances — both were nominated for Golden Globes and are in contention for Oscar noms. Here’s the trailer.

Last Chance Harvey is in limited release now and will open nationwide Friday. Is the film on your list of must-see movies?

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