This is a movie about a family divided, brought together at a crossroad in their lives by a hairdressing championship being held in their small town. The family, comprised of Alan Rickman and his grown son, played by Joshua Harnett, run the town barber shop and are estranged from their former wife and mother, played by Natasha Richardson. The estrangement came about ten years prior, when she ran off with their hairdressing model, played by Rachel Griffiths, a woman with whom she still maintains a loving, romantic relationship and openly lives with as a couple. Rickman, feeling that he had not only been betrayed but also made a laughingstock, has not forgiven her.
Unbeknownst to them all, Natasha is going to die, as she has lost the war with the cancer that she has been battling. When she discovers that the big hairdressing competition is coming to their town, she hopes for a last bit of glory and familial reconciliation. You see, when she ran off with Rachel Griffiths ten years prior, she did so on the eve of the hairdressing competition that they were all favored to win. Obviously, her actions squelched that prospect at the time. She hopes to make things right, now that the end is near.
With much difficulty, she finally persuades her ex-husband to enter the competition, where Rickman encounters his old nemesis. Then, the bag of tricks begin to fly, all of which were done much better in the movie "The Big Tease". The movie has a little difficulty deciding whether to play it for laughs or for pathos. Ultimately, pathos wins, but not without the movie having suffered from some indecision on this front. Still, Rickman, Richardson, Harnett, and Griffiths are wonderful, as always, and the movie does have its worthwhile moments. It is a moderately enjoyable, though predictable, film of a family finally brought together in time of crisis. If it is a hairdressing competition film that you want, view "The Big Tease" instead.