Hampstead Film Review 3*
An American widow living in the London suburb of Hampstead and a man who lives on the Heath form an unlikely alliance against unscrupulous property developers in the neighbourhood.
If I’d read that blurb in a magazine, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance. However, I spotted the trailer for Hampstead on a previous visit and thought it looked like a fun kind of movie. It’s not one for the kids (they’d be bored stiff) but a decent escapism for the older adult.
I think Diane Keaton is wonderful, so too is the imposing figure of Brendan Gleeson but not necessarily together! For me, the chemistry didn’t quite work, and I wasn’t swept off my feet by the romantic angle of this film. As friends and comrades working together to thwart a big property developer, they are a great match, but that’s where the relationship should have stayed.
Diane’s character, Emily, isn’t that believable. Diane is her usual creative self at portraying a nervous, widowed, and financially destitute woman, but I kept expecting her to get plucky. Her so called friend, Fiona (played by Lesley Manville) is fabulous as the slightly controlling friend/neighbour. Brendan Gleeson plays Donald, a ‘tramp’ who lives in a manmade shack on the Heath. His character is quite loveable. He is a powerful actor and yet we get to see the quirky and softer side to him in Hampstead.
It’s an odd film to review because I did enjoy it and I laughed in all the right places, but I didn’t leave the cinema with that warm glow and a need to Facebook the crap out of my visit.
The director certainly loved to romanticise London, which I’m all for as a Brit, but I’ve never seen so much sunshine, pretty cottages, and cobblestone streets in my life. If only the UK really was like that!
To sum up, if it’s a miserable day outside and you need an escape from reality then pop along and see Hampstead, but don’t expect anything too grand.
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