2.5 out of 10
Release date: 23rd June 2017
Director: Joel Hopkins (The Love Punch / Last Chance Harvey / Jump Tomorrow)
Cast: Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson, Lesley Manville, James Norton, Jason Watkins, Adeel Akhtar, Alistair Petrie, Hugh Skinner, Brian Protheroe, Rosalind Ayres, Deborah Findlay, William Smith, Peter Singh with Simon Callow and Phil Davis
Writer: Robert Festinger
This is one of those films made for people that don’t like films. You know what I mean… Similarly there are bands that make music for people who have no interest in music. The music just plays to the masses to tick a box, to scratch an itch for the disinterested and lazy. Hampstead is such a film. A bland rom-com full of caricatures and blandy pandys running around in an unrealistic depiction of a London neighbourhood? Not that Richard Curtis directed or wrote this, but he has a lot to answer for with his form for presenting the wider film viewing public with a vision of London and England at large, as apicture postcard, chocolate box world full of rich, people with first world problems, whose money problems are cute. Tramps look like they smell of roses, the sheds were they live look like they are out of a ‘shabby chic’ supplement from the Sunday Times, and there’s racial diversity is crowbarred in to the story as an after thought. Films like Notting Hill, Love Actually, The Love Punch, Tamara Drewe, and, The Holiday need to be erased from history. It’s lazy filmmaking for upper middle-class prats with no interest in anything other than mediocre entertainment like this.
Queen of ‘rom-coms’ Diane Keaton (MANHATTTAN) plays an American widow living in London. She lives in a pristine looking Hampstead opposite the heath. She spends most of her time avoiding her horrible neighbours, led by the owner, played by Lesley Manville (MALEFICENT). The land opposite is ripe for development, and Lesley Manville’s husband is a property developer involved. One day Diane Keaton spots Brendan Gleeson (LIVE BY NIGHT), a tramp living in a picture perfect shack deep in the woods from her attic window. She therefore befriends him and helps him fight eviction off the land, and it all nice dovetails into the most puke-inducing love affair since The Holiday. This Hampstead is full of squeaky clean crustys, and happy yuppies – It’s always sunny and people eat outdoors. There’s a wacky Richard Curtis-style crusty played by Hugh Skinner (POLDARK) and elsewhere there’s a comedy Pakistani door-man (PETER SINGH), a cuddly judge (SIMON CALLOW – A ROOM WITH A VIEW), shocking use of the word ‘wanker’ to provoke titters from the old folk, and eventually a vaguely funny cameo by Phil Davis (DOUGH). But its all for nothing as cliches get wheeled out in the bucket load, major obstacles are overcome with ease and a cheery montage, and most insultingly the film peddles the idea that you can sell a one bedroom flat in Hampstead and buy the Thames boathouse lodge at Cliveden with the proceeds. The ending is just shit and lazy, and I just want to punch everybody involved.
Brendan Gleeson is a fine actor, but here, along with the rest of over-qualified cast he phones it in for a big pay cheque. He looks like a big, troubled teddy bear and would’ve been well-cast if they hadnt have decided to go all-CGI for Paddington. He softly growls and raises a cocked eyebrows at the madness around him to evoke pathos. Whilst Diane Keaton and Lesley Manville’s posse run around like headless chickens. What a mess. So many of the cast are veterans of Mike Leigh‘s films. If I was Mike Leigh, I’d lock this lot out of the actors’ studio because this is a severe blot in everybody’s copy books.
2.5 out of 10 – Sappy, idiotic and lazy romantic comedy for old people and people that don’t really have any interest in films or quality.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Diane Keaton: The Young Pope (TV), Finding Dory (voice), The Family Stone, Something’s Gotta Give, Town & Country, Hanging Up, Marvin’s Room, The First Wive’s Club, Father of the Bride 2, Look Who’s Talking 3, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Father of the Bride, The Godfather 3, Baby Boom, Radio Days, Mrs Soffel, Reds Interiors, Manhattan, Annie Hall, Love & Death, The Godfather 2, Sleeper, Play It Again Sam, The Godfather, Love & Other Strangers
- Brendan Gleeson: Paddington 2, Alone In Berlin, Trespass Against Us, Live By Night, Assassin’s Creed, In the Heart of the Sea, Song of the Sea (voice), Suffragette, Stonehearst Asylum, The Grand Seduction, The Smurfs 2 (voice), Edge of Tomorrow, Calvary, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), The Raven, Safe House, Albert Nobbs, The Guard, Harry Potter- part 7, Green Zone, In Bruges, Beouwulf (mo-cap), Harry Potter- part 4 & 5, Breakfast On Pluto, Kingdom Of Heaven, The Village, Troy, Cold Mountain, Dark Blue, Gangs Of New York, 28 Days Later, AI- Artificial Intelligence, The Tailor Of Panama, Mission Impossible 2, Lake Placid, This Is My Father, The General (1998), I Went Down, A Further Gesture, The Butcher Boy, Turbulence, Trojan Eddie, Michael Collins, Braveheart, Into The West
- Lesley Manville: Molly Moon, Mr Turner, The Christmas Candle, Maleficent, Ashes, Romeo and Juliet (2013), Spike Island, Clone, Another Year, All Or Nothing, Vera Drake, Topsy Turvy, Secrets and Lies,High Hopes, Sammy & Rosie Get Laid
- James Norton: Flatliners 2 (2017), Grantchester (TV), War & Peace (TV), Happy Valley (TV), Northmen – a Viking Saga, Bonobo, Belle, Rush, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
- Jason Watkins: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The Children Act, Watership Down (TV)(voice), Taboo (TV), W1A (TV), Dr Who (TV), Nativity 3, Psychoville (TV), Being Human (TV), Nativity 2, Little Dorrit (2008) (TV), Nativity!, Wild Child (2008), Sixty Six, Confetti, Bridget Jones 2, Circus, Onegin, High Hopes
- Adeel Akhtar: Swimming with Men, Victoria & Abdul, The Big Sick, The Night Manager (TV), Convenience, Pan, Utopia (TV), Jadoo, The Dictator (2012), Four Lions
- Alistair Petrie: Silent Hours, Eat Local, Star Wars – Rogue One, Kicking Off, The Night Manager (TV), Victor Frankenstein, The Face Of An Angel, A Little Chaos, Vendetta, Rush (2013), Ashes, Devil’s Playground
- Hugh Skinner: Poldark (TV), W1A (TV), Day of the Dead (2008)
- Rosalind Ayres: Beautiful People, Gods & Monsters, Titanic (1997), Black Beauty (1994), The Lovers!, That’ll Be The Day, General Hospital (TV)
- Deborah Findlay: The Lady In The Van, Truly Madly Deeply
- Peter Singh: Coronation Street (TV)
- Simon Callow: Victoria and Abdul, Mindhorn, Viceroy’s House, Golden Years, Outlander (TV), Love’s Kitchen, Ripley Underground, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Bright Young Things, Thunderpants, No Man’s Land, Shakespeare In Love, Bedrooms and Hallways, The Scarlet Tunic, James and The Giant Peach (voice), Ace Ventura 2, Jefferson In Paris, Streetfighter, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, Mr & Mrs Bridge, Postcards From The Edge, Maurice, A Room With a View, Amadeus
- Phil Davis: Pegasus Bridge, We Can Be Heroes, Dough, Poldark (TV), Golden Years, Mr Holmes, Age of Kill, In The Blood (2015), Silk (TV), Whitechapel (TV), Being Human (TV), Borrowed Time, Fast Girls, Outside Bet, Brighton Rock (2011), Another Year, Dead Man Running, The Big I Am, Just For The Record, Cassandra’s Dream, Notes On a Scandal, The Baby Juice Express, Vera Drake, Rose & Maloney (TV), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Photographing Fairies, Crimetime, I.D. (dir), Blue Ice, Alien 3, High Hopes, The Bounty, Quadrophenia