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Is Anybody There? [DVD]


Price: £6.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Sylvia Sims, David Morrissey, Leslie Phillips, Anne-Marie Duff
  • Directors: John Crowley
  • Format: PAL
  • Audio Description: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Sep 2009
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002B55GYM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,515 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Comedy drama set in a seaside town in 1980s England, depicting the unusual friendship between a lonely ten-year-old, Edward (Bill Milner), and retired magician Clarence (Michael Caine). Growing up in the inauspicious setting of the old people's home run by his distracted parents (Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey), the inquisitive Edward spends his time tape-recording the elderly residents in an attempt to learn about death, a subject by which he is endlessly fascinated. His life changes with the arrival of the irrascible, embittered Clarence, who becomes part of Edward's ongoing quest to untangle the mysteries of mortality.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Oct 2009
Format: DVD
Edward is fed up. Stuck in a run down retirement home run by his parents in the mid 80's he finds his room being occupied by wrinklies who are not long for this world. Young Edward helps pass the time by recording the old 'uns sleeping in the hope he will catch one dying and thus find out what happens when we die. Into the home comes grumpy old curmudgeon Clarence,(Caine), who takes a dislike to just about everyone but eventually takes Edward under his wing. Clarence was a magician and it's through his sleight of hand tricks and magic show that he helps Edward see the bigger picture, stop worrying about death and in return Edward helps him face his own end.
This manages to avoid all the usual problems that come with this type of film. Theres no mawkishness, this is really pretty grim stuff, every laugh,(and theres a lot), is counterbalanced by a sad moment. For a change we are not bombarded by an endless soundtrack of 'music of the era' but rather a melancholy saw whines away and lends a very grim atmosphere.
Caine is up there with the best when he gets a script he likes. He is totally convincing as the lonely old man, regretting his past so much that he is fighting the inevitable end his rapidly worsening dementia is swiftly bringing. He swings from old grump with a quick blast of "bugger off!" to reaching out to help Edward to lost and bewildered seamlessly and with ease. Understated and yet a commanding presence in every scene he is in. Bill Milner as Edward does a great job of keeping up with his illustrious acting partner as he lends believability to his fed up but feisty boy trying to get to grips with his life. The two work together very well and at no point can you see either of them 'acting' it's all very natural.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Scott-presland on 18 Feb 2010
Format: DVD
Set in a rather improbable Residential Home for the "Elderly" (a word I hate), this is a boy's-eye view of old people, aging, and the sheer bone-aching misery of growing up surrounded by the very old, with parents who are run into the ground by the demands of Care - this is not a home which would pass any Social Services inspection in terms of staffing levels. 11-year-old Edward (Bill Milner, withdrawn and resentful) copes with this by retreating into a morbid obsession with ghosts, the afterlife, and especially with the moment of death when the soul leaves the body - or does it?

Into his life comes Clarence (Michael Caine), retired magician, dragged kicking and screaming into institutional care, and equally truculent and withdrawn. Clarence is particularly obsessed with the loss of his wife, and the sense of loneliness in him and in Edward is overwhelming. The rest of the film is the development of their relationship from mutual loathing to mutual affection, with Clarence becoming the grandfather lacking in Edward's life. In this journey, both characters learn to engage with the world - Edward for the first time, Clarence to re-engage, and come out of retirement for a show for Edward's birthday party.

This optimistic scenario is clouded by Clarence's increasing memory failure, which culminates dramatically in a trick which goes disastrously wrong, in a bleakly comic way. Clarence's final decline is skipped over, the pitiless demands of Alzheimer's being ignored in favour of leaving a positive image in the boy's mind..

What I really like about this film is the insistence that old age, extreme old age, is not about dying or waiting to die, but about living.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Cactus on 11 Oct 2009
Format: Blu-ray
This is a lovely little film which is lifted from being just nice and fluffy by the wonderful Michael Caine. It's about a friendship between an old man and a young boy who's obsessed with what happens to people after they die. This is a touching, well made movie, although it takes a bit of time to get going; the first 20 minutes or so seem a bit of a mess, while an attempt is made to establish all the characters and a back story; which for a film that clocks in at little over 90 minutes is a bit excessive. This isn't a film that's probably ever going to change anyone's life, but for an hour or so it will make you feel happy, sad, cry, laugh and maybe value life a little more. There are some genuinely emotionally powerful moments in it and its subject matter and Michael Caine's portrayal of his character prevent it from being the lightweight `eccentric British comedy' it could easily have turned out to be. (My mother died less than a year ago, so perhaps I'm still a bit sensitive to seeing old people in homes, dying and becoming senile.) It has Leslie Phillips in it too, who, playing exactly the same character as he does in every film he's ever been in, appears to look much the same as he used to in black and white in the 1960s. (Except now in colour, obviously). He also gets to deliver the funniest line. This is a film well worth watching, probably best with someone you care for, (which for someone like me with no friends is a bit difficult). Despite there being one scene with a cat in it, Penny (my cat) steadfastly refused to watch any part of it, instead sitting with her back to the screen the whole time. So it's unfortunately not a great film to put on if you have a group of cats to entertain.
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