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Nice Little Feel-Good Film - If you aren't Dependent on Subtitles
on 21 July 2017
Based on a novel by Irish writer Maeve Binchy, this little film is set over the Christmas period in a rather upmarket residential home for senior citizens. However, it is not a film exclusively for the festive season. It tells the story of Ellie (Hayley Atwell), who has just broken up with her boyfriend and lands in the above mentioned establishment, which is owned and run by her older sister, expecting to be given a place to stay. What she hasn't bargained for is that she'll have to work for her keep, and when her sister is called away because of a family emergency, it falls to Ellie to single-handedly run the home.
The residents are all rather unpleasant and demanding, and while the acting by such greats as Vanessa Redgrave, Brenda Fricker and Imelda Staunton is very good, it takes a bit of time to warm to their characters. The ageing actress played by Redgrave is the easiest to like, the full story of the two sisters played by Fricker and Staunton emerges rather too slowly and by the time it does, many a viewer may well have lost interest in them because of their rude behaviour. Which is a pity, because when all is explained, everything makes sense.
Hayley Atwell is very likable as Ellie, Redgrave is good as ever and when she gets her moment to shine, she does so with all the glamour of a real star. In that flamboyant red coat of hers she does cut a very fine figure indeed. There are various subplots, all mildly entertaining, but basically this is the story of Ellie taking responsibility for the first time in her life, and of a lot of lonely people discovering the importance of company and community.
No, it's not the greatest film ever made, but if you don't expect any more than a bit of light entertainment without violence you should enjoy this well enough. One drawback: The DVD has no subtitles, which a film about senior citizens and aimed at a mature to elderly audience really should have.