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 1995 - An Awfully Big Adventure

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~Lilith~
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PostSubject: 1995 - An Awfully Big Adventure   Sun Nov 22, 2009 1:09 pm

Alan as P.L O'Hara



Quote :
The story is about the young girl Stella (maybe even more mixed up than the average young girl) who joins a theater group as a way to escape life in post WWII Liverpool. She is almost hopelessly naive and inexperienced with life but displays the selfish, sometimes cruel, behavior of a teenager. She's not a bad sort, just obsessed with what she wants and doesn't bother to look at how her behavior effects others. One of the things she is obsessed with is the company's director. Hugh Grant does an outstanding job at playing Potter, the totally vile director of the little troupe. He's selfish, cruel, debauched and delights in making others miserable.

The rest of the cast do a very good job of playing a troupe of mediocre, aging players. All the characters have stories and somehow you come to care about them. P. L. O'Hara (played by Alan Rickman) doesn't appear until the second half of the movie, but when he arrives (on his motorbike), the whole dynamics of the little group change. He is a sad and lonely man with a past that haunts him but he is still a strong presence in the group. He has come in answer to a call for help from the theater manager; clearly an old, dear and respected friend. The others look up to him, cheering him when he arrives for rehearsal and even asking him to intercede on behalf of the young man Potter is currently ruining. One of the women in the group still carries a very live torch for him. Even Potter changes when O'Hara joins the group. There is clearly a history between the two men and it isn't that good. They do, however have a certain closeness and familiarity with each other that made me want to know more of their past associations. Potter physically and mentally straightens up when O'Hara arrives and while willing to joke with him is still wary in his company.

O'Hara, while spending his spare time searching for his lost love and the son he never knew, still cares for the others. He is gentle with the woman who still loves him, tries to get Potter to back off from ruining Jeffery, the young man Potter has seduced, and notices and is concerned about, Stella's obsession for Potter. He has an interest in Stella himself, remarking to one of the troupe, 'I KNOW her.' He doesn't, but is drawn to her despite their age difference. Stella, noticing his attraction, takes the opportunity to learn the 'knack' of sex so that when Potter finally takes her to bed, and she thinks this must happen, she won't 'put him off' with her inexperience. It's not quite clear who seduces whom, but Stella and O'Hara do get together. In her obsession with Potter, Stella cares nothing for anyone else and it is inexpressibly sad when O'Hara wraps her nakedness in a blanket and his arms and asks, "Don't you love me just a bit?" and she replies, "No! I love another."

There is humor to be had. In Stella's second ever sexual encounter, she gives direction to the older, experienced O'Hara. He pauses and the looks that pass over his face had me laughing until the tears came. When O'Hara inserts a dramatic pause into his lines in rehearsal, Stella, thinking he has forgotten his lines, prompts him. The reactions of O'Hara and Potter are hysterical. Stella, is clueless.

The entire cast does a splendid job. I found Stella the least believable (or likable!) character. It's hard to believe anyone could be that clueless, even in the 50's, but perhaps. AR does his usual superb job. In his first 4 minutes on screen, in a verity of different scenes with different people - all talking to him - he doesn't speak at all. The communication is all in the facial expressions and the body language. It had me almost desperate for the sound of his voice. His portrayal of Captain Hook on the stage is as marvelous as we fans would expect.

I won't go into the ending other than to say I didn't like it. It comes on you fast and runs you right over. I was left wondering what was going to happen to the others. I found I cared about them. Perhaps this is a sign of a good movie. Certainly a sign of good story telling.

http://www.rickmanistareview.com/aaba.html

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