Withnail & I
If you don't remember the sixties, don't worry - neither did they.
Two 'resting' actors living in a squalid Camden Flat - and living off a diet of booze and pills - take a trip to a country house (belonging to Withnail’s uncle) to 'rejuvenate'. Faced with bad weather, altercations with the locals, and the unexpected arrival (and advances) of Uncle Monty, the pairs wits and friendship are tested...
Something happens sometimes when I start a movie. I can't describe exactly how it happens or why, but sometimes I just know from 30 seconds in that I'm going to love a movie. That's what happened in the case of Withnail & I.
How I missed this one for so long is totally beyond me. A slacker film before slacker films were cool, it's equal parts hipster and pathetic (is there really even a difference?).
Watching it I feel a little like it's the strange cousin film to Naked.
I should probably say something about how funny this movie is and how the comedy comes from everywhere. In one scene it's funny because it seems to be the lost scene from…
I like my substance abuse surrounded by dry British humour (though I'm not really a fan of Trainspotting). Withnail & I is full of narcissism, paranoia and gleeful disobedience but also a sense of despair - an understanding this lifestyle is unsustainable and self-destructive - adding the pathos that makes a comedy last. You can tell it was based on real experiences (of the writer-director, Bruce Robinson, who hasn't done that many films, but I really need to check out How to Get Ahead in Advertising), especially some of the gags about washing up. Good performances from Paul McGan, Richard E. Grant, and Richard Griffiths (who you may recognise from the Harry Potter films) give weight to a script that is narratively thin, but character-rich.
I can say that I don't think I got everything there is to get about this film for a first viewing. What I can say though is that it's brilliantly written and makes with its way through the chaotically mundane with a Hunter S. Thompson heroin-like energy that makes everything glow with as the film moves from scene to scene. Every single line feels quotable amidst the drinking and the more drinking. Every moment, the more I think about it, feels epic. To me, the way it is about sort of nothing, except maybe friendship, makes it real life-like, and thus, strangely, has a depth to it that doesn't feel manufactured by plot points. Richard E. Grant's performance is one…
One of my all-time favorites. What's not to like? The classic lines (we can all quote at least one), the indescribable squalor of their flat, the desperate hopelessness of Withnail's state, the decrepit Jag, the predatory Uncle Monty or the knot in your stomach at the farewell.
Great performances all round, with Richard E Grant spring boarding into a long career based on this film (not that Paul McGann begrudged him at all, oh no).
"We've gone on holiday - by mistake."
Withnail & I has one of the great scripts, with skies that are "beginning to bruise", a landlord "who was coming over all bald" and a pair of heroes who "are drifting into the arena of the unwell". Paul McGann is "I" (the script calls him Marwood), a mild-mannered actor who decamps to the country for the weekend with boozing, carousing flatmate Withnail (Richard E. Grant) - an eternally inebriated bullshit artist and wannabe thespian - and the unwelcome Uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths). There they battle against supposed starvation, fear grown of disorientation and alcohol, and the advances of predatory homosexual Monty, who has his eye on I.
The plotting is virtually non-existent, but…
Week 3 of the Mystery March Challenge - This review has kind of gotten away from me a bit, I've already spent an hour on it and am nowhere near finished but now I am at work so will conclude later.
This is one of my all time favourite films, usually in my top 5, always in my top 10, for a variety of reasons...
London, 1969. Two unemployed actors, living in conditions a student would be appalled by, have finally run out of booze. Their funds severely depleted and with paranoia creeping in they realise they have to get out.
What follows is a funny, honest look at the disillusionment that arrives with age, rejection and sobriety.…
Seriously though. -- Delightfully depressing.
This is simply one of the funniest and most quotable films ever. My favourite Richard Harris (R.I.P.) performance , Uncle Monty is one of my favourite characters ever . The script is fantastic ('We've gone on holiday by mistake ' , ' as a youth I used to weep in butcher's shops ' , 'warm up? We may as well sit round a cigarette' etc , etc ) , the quantity of alcohol consumed is astounding ( especially as Richard E. Grant was tee-total before the film) , the plot , though sparse, makes a great film , and the acting is stellar. But the tragic ending is what really makes the film .
What can I say? A classic. It's surreal, hilarious, poignant and tragic all at the same time. Somehow it manages not to feel dated. I love it.
"BASTARDS! YOU'LL ALL SUFFER! I'LL SHOW THE LOT OF YOU! I'M GONNA BE A STARRR!"
We all have that one friend. The one who rants and raves and scathes and spills bile questioning how their life came to THIS. The one with goals far beyond their grasp who we, unbeknownst to them, carry under our wing.
Withnail is that friend. Obscenely selfish and appallingly unself-aware, he's the embodiment of co-dependency. Marlowe, the nameless narrator, is made to endure some of the most hilarious situations committed to film, and almost all of them a direct result of Withnail's unthinking, irresponsible and blundering actions.
Withnail & I is the funniest tragedy you'll ever see. It's the saddest love letter, the best testament to the joys and shackles of friendship I've encountered. It's about letting go of the very people that shape us when they no longer better us but instead confine us, unable to evolve while we continue to change.
One man offers another some tea. "Nooo!" is the response. Squalid hilarity ensues.
I always enjoy these sorts of characters. I think I know why: because I wish I could behave that way sometimes. After a long day of work, I wish I could drink myself silly and yell at people in public, not clean my home, and generally make a boisterous ass out of myself.
Seeing somebody else do it on the screen is some sort of catharsis, I guess. Is that why we love the really good bad guys in movies, too?
Anyway, Withnail and I is one of those really great movies about a couple of assholes doing and saying hilarious things. It's completely quotable from beginning to end - which is wonderful because it's okay to same something horrible and tasteless as long as you're quoting a movie and everyone can tell you're quoting a movie.
"Listen, I think you should strangle it instantly in case it starts trying to make friends with us."
A first time watch of a cult classic can be uncomfortable. I see the comedy, I see a lot of it, I laughed at a lot of it, but I'm still missing what everyone loves about this film. I feel the same way about it as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, another cult movie with intermittent laughs and confusion at the end. But I'll give it another watch someday, as I can see it growing on me.
There is a lot to like in this film. The acting is wonderful. The direction and cinematography are nicely done. Where it falls short for me is in the story itself. I'm afraid I just don't have the same romantic notions surrounding swilling copious amounts of booze, popping pills, and living in squalor that so many people seem to. I get what they're trying to do, I just don't feel it. I'm sure I'll be shunned for saying so.
Look here my cousins a QC!!
This might be my favourite film of all time.
Well not quite...But I can't believe I haven't watched it before, the acting, the script and the location are all so spot on. There really aren't many British comedies on the level of Withnail and I as after my first viewing I genuinely feel this has to be up with Shaun of the Dead and even the Monty Pythons of this world.
Richard E Grants performance is a tour de force and if you like dark/British humour then you will love this. Cannot wait to watch it again!
Solid writing! A subversive yarn that blends comedy and drama perfectly.