Reviewed May 14, 2012
Andrew K’s review:
A wonderful film, darkly funny, brilliantly acted. Albert Finney plays a crazy old guy. Honestly, I don't think he was ever young. He was only 34 when he did Scrooge, playing a crazy old guy. Anywho, he is great!
The film takes place in one day. Albert Finney plays Sir, a career Shakespeare-ian actor who has a few screws loose, either due to age or due to playing Lear 227 times. This day, he is going for number 228, and we get to see him prepare with his dresser, Norman, by his side, holding his hand. Sir is delusional, grouchy, proud, impatient, etc. (you get the idea), and Norman is the only one who knows how to get him ready for the stage. We see the hour before the performance and the performance itself.
The two leads, Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay, are absolutely captivating. Sir is not completely looney, and Norman is not completely composed, and the moments where they are actually in sync are really touching. The chemistry is wonderful, like they've been working together for years. The directing is strong, but that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone familiar with Peter Yates. While it earned 5 Oscar nominations, it was overshadowed by Terms of Endearment. Luckily, TCM remembered it for their 31 Days of Oscar.