The latest Cinefile release to Vimeo is available now.
There’s a lot to admire and enjoy in this slightly odd, (very) low-budget Hungarian-UK co-production, even if there’s nothing particularly original about it.
Brian Cox plays Sir Michael Gifford, a grumpy old Shakespearian actor suffering the onset of Parkinson’s, who has seen off a number of carers hired by his frosty daughter Sophia (Emilia Fox). The latest in this line, however, bright young Hungarian Drama student Dorottya (Coco Konig), is made of sterner stuff, and gives as good as she gets. So far, so very unoriginal.
As their platonic relationship progresses, Dorottya revives Sir Michael’s spirits and becomes his accomplice, buying him cigarettes, sneaking him out to visit the local pub, unbeknown to Sophia, and only just tolerated by his secretary and former lover Milly (Anna Chancellor) who becomes a little jealous of their closeness. Everything comes to a head with the news that Sir Michael is to be presented with a lifetime achievement award, and opinions are divided as to whether or not he is well enough to attend.
This all teeters on the edge of a slide into sentimentality at times, but thankfully manages to avoid this, thanks in no small measure to the quality of the cast. Brian Cox must have relished the chance to play a measured part as Sir Michael, while being given several opportunities to unleash his “inner thesp”. (I think he may have had a hand in the script himself). Coco Konig sparkles opposite him, natural and down to earth and totally believable in her role.
This is, of course, a feel-good movie, and in the end there are no bad guys, it all works out for the best for everyone. At the risk of coming over as unduly sentimental myself, that might just be what I wanted to see in these disconcerting times.