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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, disturbing and rather wonderful
Venus is the story of an aging actor and his friends, coming to terms with their mortality. Maurice (in a wonderfully understated performance) falls in love with his best friend's great niece,Jess, a confused, selfish, immature 19 year old played by Jodie Whittaker.

It is to Whittaker's credit that her performance stands up so well in amongst the likes of...
Published on 2 Oct 2007 by Jaybird

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars O'Toole's Performance Lifts it from the Pedestrian
Peter O'Toole, the highly-esteemed British/Irish actor who has just passed, (Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion In Winter ), received a well-deserved 2006 Oscar nomination for the English-made VENUS though, unfortunately for him, not the nod ( who could ignore Forest Whittaker in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND?) But O'Toole did give a genuinely towering performance; and they always...
Published 10 months ago by Stephanie De Pue


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, disturbing and rather wonderful, 2 Oct 2007
By 
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Venus is the story of an aging actor and his friends, coming to terms with their mortality. Maurice (in a wonderfully understated performance) falls in love with his best friend's great niece,Jess, a confused, selfish, immature 19 year old played by Jodie Whittaker.

It is to Whittaker's credit that her performance stands up so well in amongst the likes of O'Toole, Vanessa Redgrave and Leslie Phillips in particular.

Both Maurice and Jess undergo real journeys in this film. Maurice's attention and insight give Jess the confidence to open her horizons. She learns the value of kindnesses in an unkind world. Maurice takes real pleasure in watching her grow, it distracts him, but also gives him pause to reflect on the pain of unrequited love. As he reviews his life, in the light shone by this difficult relationship, he slowly comes to terms with his inevitable demise.

A lot of reviewers are put off by the creepy nature of the (very slightly) physical scenes - all I can say is that they are meant to be disturbing. Maurice is no more a cuddly grandpa than Jess is a sweet, innocent child. What is extraordinary is how sympathetically they are handled.

All I can say is that this is certainly a love it or hate it film; it is so divisive because it is genuinely shocking to see a watery eyed old man pawing a beautiful young girl, and to witness her confusion and discomfort. But not many films have something real to say about old age and dying, so be prepared but do watch it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 18 Aug 2008
By 
L. M. Vernon (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This film is amazing. The acting is superb and story very moving. It manages to be happy, sad, funny and uplifting all at once. The 'disturbing' moments work and are integral to the story. I choose to look at it as rather than him being a dirty old man, he's just the same man he always was, a womaniser, in an old body. Wonderful, a must see.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You've been loved Morris. You've been adored." "Yes. So have you Ian. You just didn't always notice it!", 20 Aug 2007
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
This could have a groan to watch, even pervy (it actually is in places) but it's still an absolute gem.

While Peter O'Toole grabs the lion's share of attention, there are many other reasons why this so works. One of them is a stunning turn from Leslie Phillips who up until now has been all but a National joke in Britain (in the nicest way - he's been acting since the Fifties in light-hearted and often bawdy British comedies). The two together are never anything less than brilliant. Phillips knows he's up against real acting talent, but every time he matches it with his most brilliant and layered performance ever. And he's subtle too. Their scenes together are worth their weight in gold.

Part of the reason is the fantastically funny, observational and touching script from Hanif Kureish which should have pulled a statue. There's a scene where two nurses are chatting over Peter O'Toole - one sticking a needle in his arm in some god-forsaken National Health Service room - and they just don't see him - he might as well not be there - why - because he's old - and therefore doesn't count anymore. It immediately cuts to him in the next scene at home - head lowered - sat on the side of a bed - hurting at the realisation of his aged fate. Then he slaps his own face three times and tells himself to "get up you old fu**er" and get on with life! O'Toole can suggest so much with even a glance. Both scenes are crushingly sad, but say so much by using so little. It's fantastic writing.

There's another scene with Richard Griffiths (superb British actor who played Uncle Monty in Withnail & I) and Leslie Phillips; they're in a London cafe the three dotty cumudgens frequent, when Phillips bemoans the fact that his new girl lodger Jessie (played by Judie Whittaker - dubbed "Venus" by O'Toole after visiting the famous painting in The National Gallery) has drunk all his best booze and eaten him out of house and home. He's frantic. The two boys react - not with sympathy and tea - but by relentlessly taking the piss out of his overreaction! It's just hysterically funny, well paced and packed full of wisdoms.

Maurice's (O'Toole) reaction to Venus is entirely different. She, of course, with her short skirts, Northern accent and lip that knows no subtlety - represents life, youth, woman. And for a man who's been in love with them all from the moment he could ditch his nappy and chase them down the street - she's irresistable. Their romance at-a-distance is slowly boiled and admittedly at times, it seems highly unlikely, but they play it so well together, you believe it. There are slightly pervy moments as I said and awkward scenes where he can't help himself and gets physical, and she calls him "forward". But he is - as a man - dying - and he can't stand it - he has so much to give still, if only someone will stop looking at him as old, and instead see him as a viable human being. It's all beautifully handled, insightful and ballsy - because these things should be/need to be said and addressed.

The music is provided by the lovely Corrine Bailey Rae, a British soul singer (like a softer version of Tracy Chapman meets Mica Paris) - soulful songs and strumming moments pepper the nicely used London locations. Later scenes with his long-suffering wife Vanessa Redgrave are genuinely touching too - another great actress adding class to an already classy project.

There are times when O'Toole looks ill, that this maybe his last role, but then that voice comes through, or he does an "act-or's turn", or he smiles at Leslie Phillips and hugs him - and lifetimes of friendship come through. In another scene Phillips' character Ian says as they sip whiskey in a gentleman's club reminiscing on their pasts, "I love this horrible place. It reminds me, of what I wanted to become." He admires Maurice and is jealous of him, but can say it without fear, because they're real friends. Sipping whiskey and clipping toenails!

Of course the central relationship between Maurice & Jessie goes to crap and a series of events threaten to wreck it. We're not looking at traditional happy endings here, but compromises - as all living is. It ends as it began - on a beach - with the waves of the free sea lapping on the shore - fresh and untamable.

I loved this film. Please don't let the subject matter put you off.
In one particularly touching scene, O'Toole's character Maurice, quotes Shakespeare to Venus - and to finish this review - so shall I.

"So long as men shall live and eyes shall see...
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee".

Put this movie high on your rental/to buy list.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death in "Venus", 26 May 2007
By 
F. S. L'hoir (Irvine, CA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
"Venus" is a parable about the inevitability of time and the impermanence of love. The story is a variation on the theme of the dying man, smitten with lost youth and opportunity, which is revived----ever-so-briefly----via the persona of a beautiful young creature. In this manner, the aging actor Maurice--played with subtle poignancy by Peter O'Toole--who is captivated by the attractive, but rough-about-the-edges niece of another old actor and friend, is reminiscent of the aging composer Aschenbach, who yearns for the beautiful--and unobtainable--young Tadziu in Visconti's "Death in Venice." "Venus," in fact, portrays the unsatisfactory scenario of what might have occurred had Aschenbach realized his relationship with Tadziu. Like "Venice," "Venus" connects Love with Death, who, cast in a cameo role, overtakes its protagonist on a lonely beach. Unlike "Venice," however, "Venus" casts no sunset glow on the dirty business of dying alone, with a catheter tube and bag strapped to one's leg, or as a helpless victim of violence.

"Venus," however, is laced with laughter as well as tears, as when the two once-famous thespian friends make the rounds of their old London haunts, including a church with the memorial plaques to long-dead actors, such as Laurence Harvey. When Maurice notes that the church is running out of wall space for such commemorations, his friend Ian--played with equal professionalism by Leslie Phillips--tells him wistfully that "Ian" is a very short name. One of the most touching lines, though, comes when the two revisit their elegant Edwardian club--apparently frequented by actors--and Ian remarks that he loves coming to the place, because it reminds him so much of what he might have been.

The acting, as is to be expected from such a cast, which includes Vanessa Redgrave as Maurice's long-neglected but still-loved wife, is superb. Peter O'Toole has the remarkable ability to inflict a mortal wound to the heart with a mere look. The expression on his face hardly changes, but his inner passion is so heartfelt that he conveys his emotion effortlessly. O'Toole's performance demonstrates the bankruptcy of the Hollywood establishment, which has failed to acknowledge his artistry properly for these many years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, moving, sad, 1 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I watched this and enjoyed it for the acting and the humour as well as the sadness of the inevitability of old age. People don't get nice and well behaved just because they get old - just frustrated.

Far more interesting, however, is the reviews of those who didn't like the film. In general they are 1) ageist, 2) complain about the language and sexual content(it's there but barely starts compared with many far more successful films), and 3) are characterised by poor grammar and spelling.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venus, 30 Jan 2009
By 
A. Adams (Dorset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Interesting to me that two younger generation friends considered the Venus movie rather sad, whereas I found it hilarious from start to finish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars lovely film, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Venus [DVD] (DVD)
great film. great to watch this alongside Dean Spanley to see a master actor at work. brilliant all round film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars O'Toole's Performance Lifts it from the Pedestrian, 26 Dec 2013
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Venus [DVD] (DVD)
Peter O'Toole, the highly-esteemed British/Irish actor who has just passed, (Lawrence of Arabia, The Lion In Winter ), received a well-deserved 2006 Oscar nomination for the English-made VENUS though, unfortunately for him, not the nod ( who could ignore Forest Whittaker in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND?) But O'Toole did give a genuinely towering performance; and they always say the Oscar voters love you if you allow yourself to look ugly, or disabled, onscreen. O'Toole allowed himself to look ugly/old, and dead onscreen, so I guess that had to count heavily in his favor.

"Venus" is actually a drily funny, unsentimentally witty film, as written by Hanif Kureishi,(My Beautiful Laundrette ), and directed by Roger Michell; although its plot is rather pedestrian. It's set among a bunch of aging theatrical friends, and gives viewers a pretty good idea of what their lives might be like. Maurice, (O'Toole), who would generally be politely called a "larger than life character," manages to be a horny, dirty old man, despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that we're told a recent needed operation was going to leave him impotent and incontinent. He falls in love with 20-year old Jessie (Jodie Whittaker), the hard, provincial, lazy, little-educated niece of his best friend Ian (Leslie Phillips,(Casanova '73 ), who's been sent to look after him in his dotage. Vanessa Redgrave,(Julia ), turns in a fine performance as Valerie, still actually Maurice's last wife. Richard Griffiths, (The History Boys ) provides sturdy support as Donald, the third old theatrical friend.

The presence of O'Toole is critical to the film's success: most viewers do know that, in real life, he was one handsome devil as a younger man, and we need to know that in order to believe that a not-so-bright girl of twenty could manage to get to be fond of a man four times her age,and not a millionaire, to boot. There also can be little doubt that O'Toole salts many of his lines as Maurice with his real-time lifetime of experience. We know that despite his record number of nominations, he never won the Oscar, but his performance still makes the movie worth seeing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Venus, 3 Nov 2013
By 
LES JOHNS (Plymouth, Devon. UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Venus [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
A typically British film, with great actors in the best roles and who can ask for more than the great Peter O'Toole.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Film, 1 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Venus [DVD] (DVD)
A real must have in the library. Interesting story and just a little bit different. A lot of laughs as well as some thoughtful moments. Highly recommend it. Peter O'Toole amazing
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Venus [DVD]
Venus [DVD] by Roger Michell (DVD - 2011)
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