Film Review: FINDING YOUR FEET (UK 2017) ***

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Finding Your Feet Poster
Trailer

On the eve of retirement a middle class, judgmental snob discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.

 

(Warning: This review contains a spoiler which is highlighted in bold italics at the end.  Skip it if you intend to watch the film.)

As the title of the film implies FINDING YOU FEET refers to finding ones footing in life with dancing helping along the way.

When the film opens Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) is about to become a Lady, thanks to the success and fame of her husband, Mike (John Sessions).  They have enjoyed a good long marriage together till this party, where she catches him red handed kissing her friend in the dark.  She abandons him, distraught and shows up at the council flat of her bohemian sister.  No need to guess that she is then taught how to behave like a less haughty human being as well as to enjoy the simplicities of life, which includes attending the sister’s dancing class.  She also gives love a second chance, in the form of Charlie(Timothy Spall), who’s wife Lily (Sian Thomas) is suffering an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s at a nursing home.

Three great performances to be entertained here by Oscar Nominee Imelda Staunton (Mike Leigh’s VERA DRAKE), Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie .  These performances distract from the facts that the film is not really funny nor are there many funny parts, nor is the script particularly bright. But the charm of the actors come across quite effectively for the audience not to notice the film’s shortcomings.  Absolutely Fabulous’s Patsy (Joanna Lumley) lends her hand in the role of a five time divorcee offering advice for Sandra.  Lumley is the only real comedienne in the cast.  Staunton and Spall are known more for their serious comedies.  Director Loncraine has made comedies in the past as in Michael Pailin in THE MISSIONARY but also more serious films as RICHARD III and in one of my favourite films, BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE with a young Sting making his acting debut.

The dance performance supposedly shot at Piccadilly Circus is sufficient spirited.  London is shown in her Christmas splendour as Sandra ad Charlie take on the London lights during a romantic fling.  The two make a believable couple coming to terms with their own personal troubles.  It is this human feature of the script that makes the film work despite the script’s flaws.  The film obviously leads towards the typical happy Hollywood ending which is a real shame, since it is so manipulative and obvious as to what is going to happen.  (Spoiler alert:  But the last straw, almost unforgivable is the literal leap of faith Sandra takes to be with Charlie.)

The dance metaphor which reflects Sandra getting on back to her feet after her matrimonial disaster works quite well, though it can hardly not be noticeable.  Sandra gets back into the dance groove, together with her old cronies with a few solid but simple choreographed numbers to old tunes like Rockin’ Robin and newer numbers like La Freak.

FINDING YOUR FEET is an old folks Harlequin romance that goes through all the usual obstacles and predictability of finding true love lifted slightly by the presence of both Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Cp6ba2Y0g

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Movie Review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

absolutely_fabulous.jpgABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – THE MOVIE (UK 2016) ***
Directed by Mandie Fletcher

Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Jane Horrocks |

Review by Gilbert Seah

At one point in the movie, Edina Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) quips: “Sixties are the new forties.” When the first AB FAB skit appeared in1990, both actresses Saunders and Joanna Lumley were in their forties. Now, more than twenty years later, they are still at it, creating havoc in the PR world of high fashion.

When AB FAB the movie opens, Edina is still running her PR agency that is quickly running out of money and interest. The duo realize that Edina needs a miracle to save her company and renew her reputation. Edina tries to recruit high fashion model Kate Moss at a party but accidentally pushes her over the balcony into the Thames. To hide from the press and bad publicity, the two take off to the south of France with Edina’s grand-daughter, Lola in tow, hoping to tap her youth in the fashion business. Patsy gets married. Other crazy adventures ensue.

Films made from TV series (KEVIN AND PERRY GO LARGE, HOLIDAY ON THE BUSES and THE IN-BETWEENERS) more than always have their characters go on holiday. Though Patsy and Edina do not really go on holidays, they end up in the south of France to escape being arrested. Here at least, the wealthy affluence of the French suits the environment of the characters.

All the characters from the TV series are present from Bubbles (Jane Horrocks), Edina’s useless secretary to her daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha) to her thieving mother(June Whitfield). The film updates the characters. Saffrom is now a mother who has a daughter, Lola.

Written by Saunders and directed by Fletcher who was responsible for a few TV episodes, the story is often all over the place. At one point the duo’s in London at a PR party and the next, Patsy is married in France. Anything can happen and often does. But no one can really take the incidents seriously either. These are the reasons the film works. It is good to laugh at the antics of the two, and they never go stale. But the writing poses a bit of a problem when it tries to rationalize Edina’s reckless living. There are also prize comedic set-ups like the chase with the two in a tiny ice-cream van and the hilarious designer Huki Muki event.

A long list of cameos is often common in films on high fashion (ENTOURAGE, ZOOLANDER). AB FAB THE MOVIE contains a list too long to mention though quite a few of the British faces will go unrecognized by North American audiences. A few stand out like Kathy Burke’s foul mouthed Magda. Burke is always a joy to watch.

The film has already opened in the U.K. and has broken box-office records. Saunders and Lumley appeared in person during London Pride march a week before the film opening. This comedy is just what the doctor ordered to distract from the world’s blues (Brexit, US shootings, ISIS attacks).

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Happy Birthday: Joanna Lumley

joannalumley.jpgHappy Birthday actor Joanna Lumley

Born: Joanna Lamond Lumley
May 1, 1946 in Srinagar, Kashmir, India

Married to: Stephen Barlow (1986 – present)

Quotes:

At boarding school I even kept mice in my underclothes drawer. It made me smell most attractive, as you can imagine.

Giraffes are completely tranquil-they have no predators as adults because there’s not an animal in the jungle stupid enough to go for them.

Giraffes are fairytale animals, almost heraldic-as if from the land of fables. They have extremely beautiful faces, huge eyes, very sensitive nostrils and Oh, blue tongues!

Hundreds of political prisoners still suffer in Tibetan prisons. Freedom of speech is not allowed in any sense. It is illegal to possess a photo of the Dalai Lama.

I can’t see any difference in having your hair dyed, your teeth fixed, your nose done, or your face smoothed out or lifted.

I like to keep up the image of smoking, only because it’s getting such a bad press!

When you are in a country where nobody has ever seen television, people look at you with eyes that don’t know who you are.

I don’t think men are that attracted by glamour. I think women are attracted by glamour. I think men are attracted by a sense of friendship.

I’ve got lots of good friends. I could have affairs. I can read a book all night, put the cat on the end of the bed. I can pick up my passport and go to France. I don’t have to ask anybody.