I haven’t seen the original play of this, though I sort of wish I had – many of the more knowledgable reviews have commented on how, though the movie re-united the same cast and crew as the original staging of Alan Bennett’s play, all the energy has gone, and I really feel that this is probably true. But all I can go on is the film, and for me, though this movie feels like it wants to be a major part of British cinema history – movies like Kes, My Beautiful Launderette, Gregory’s Girl, Educating Rita, Billy Elliot come to mind, and I can even see stills from it in the Jill Nelmes “Introduction to Film Studies” book in years to come, I can practically hear my old tutor banging on about it already – there really is just so much missing; and watchable as it is, I think just about anyone watching would be able to reel off a handful of similar movies more worth the time.
Though the movie has a lot to say, it just takes so damn long to simply set the scene, and the pay-off just doesn’t make up for it. As the movie’s best line says, “it’s just one f*cking thing after another”. The movie is set in 1983 though there’s not a great deal of reasoning for it, but I can’t help but think that, really, it should have been made then or never. Also, Richard Griffiths was way more engaging in Venus. Get Dead Poet’s Society or Fame instead. Oh, there’s a new Rufus Wainwright song on the end, that’s kinda worth it I guess.