Last Chance Harvey (2008)

Can Mommy and Daddy’s romance actually be fresh and new?

Dustin Hoffman stars as struggling jingle writer Harvey Shine, an aging father who risks losing his job to attend his daughter’s London wedding, only to discover that he’s not exactly welcome. While seeking refuge in the airport bar, Harvey meets a lonely statistician named Kate (Emma Thompson) and finds himself thrust into an unexpected romance.

I was surprised by this film because I wasn’t expecting to actually like something so obvious, and generic as this. The writing does a good job of actually having us believe that these two can fall in love with each other over a short amount of time, just through understandings and conversation. I especially liked how it was all dramatic in the beginning, but then as soon as these two meet, everything spices up, and I actually found myself laughing more than I expected.

The film does get a bit too generic and formulaic, which disappointed me. I thought at one point it was going to turn for the worst, and actually be something different from what I’ve seen before, but instead it backs right into the formula of a “romantic dramedy”. Also, way too sentimental by the end, and may have you sometimes cringing by all the schmaltz as well.

The real treat here is to watch these two legends do amazing work, as they always should. Dustin Hoffman is great as the chump Harvey, that just wants to make everything but somehow just can’t, through a series of unfortunate events. There are some scenes where he really belts out the emotional part of his performance and does a great job, delivering the best scenes of the movie. But I don’t want to give away too much. Emma Thompson is awesome as always, using the witty and snappy girl personality to her advantage here, and brings out the charm within Hoffman. I actually found their chemistry was the main reason this film worked, cause although the script isn’t terrific, their genuine and hilarious chemistry brings out the best within this film. These two do good jobs at actually having us believe that these two “old” people can actually still find that certain someone.

Consensus: Though the predictability and schmaltz may be in effect here, Last Chance Harvey is uplifted by the good screenplay, that has perfect chemistry between Hoffman and Thompson, who are the top of their game.


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