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December 2010

How About You

cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Joss Ackland, Brenda Fricker, Imelda Staunton, and Haley Atwell

director: Anthony Byrne

87 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
High Fliers DVD Region 2

RATING: 7/10
review by Danny O'Connor

How About You...

This is a life-affirming movie, set in an Irish care home for the elderly, where Kate, the estranged younger sister of the owner, comes to work for a short time to get money to go on a world tour with a group of friends, including her boyfriend. We get a brief glimpse of each character including Alice, who dies as soon as we get to know her but not before passing on some life-living advice to Kate.

The obvious plot device of a 'family crisis' at Christmas sees Kate left to take care of the four hardcore residents who have nowhere else to go at yuletide. She puts up with their individual irascibleness for a few scenes before giving them all a Christmas ultimatum. At first each demurs but small events and the singular 'home truths' that one, they have nowhere else to go and two, their anti-social behaviour is financially ruinous to the owner gets them onside. They all have a jolly Christmas and each of their lives moves on in a small way allowing Kate to leave, without her boyfriend, but with a clear conscience.

Yes, the plot is thin and predictable, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest it isn't. But then it never pretends to be. So, what's good about this movie? Put it this way, if I ever get to go to an old folks' home, this would be my number one choice. The grounds are luscious and the interior furniture is substantial.

Each of the four established actors and the young Haley Atwell all hand in polished little vignettes of performances. No one 'steals' the movie but Vanessa Redgrave comes the closest. The best scene in the movie is the pub scene where the normally indomitable Ms Redgrave gives a warm rendition of the song which is the title of the movie 'How About You'.

There is a poignant scene (all the more poignant for the fact that Joss Ackland is a real-life widower) where Ackland lets us know his inner pain of loss. I could give you the backstory lives of each of the care home inhabitants but that would be mere padding. If you're up for an unpretentious life-affirming little movie with solid performances then rent this one.



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