Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Want a guilt-free feel-good film? Try Loncraine, Leonard and Moorcroft's FINDING YOUR FEET

Starring a very good array of what you might want to call current British film-star royalty (Helen Mirren is not among them, but the kind of crap she's been performing in of late makes that seem rather fitting) -- in particular Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie -- this new film from that fine journeyman director, Richard Loncraine is such a non-stop pleasure to view and hear (the screenplay comes via Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft), that you can and very probably will give yourself over to it immediately. You will then spend the next hour-and-fifty-minutes on the British entertainment equivalent of Cloud 9.

Sure, you'll have been here (or somewhere very close to "here") many times previous, but the suave and svelte manner in which the filmmakers have assembled their wares and the ability of that cast to deliver them so perfectly makes all the difference.

FINDING YOUR FEET is about, among a bunch of other things, a marriage imploding, a new life beginning, another life actually ending, family re-connections, the state of being a senior citizen -- and dancing. That last figures into things in a most appropriate way, even more so than in another, somewhat similar movie, Stepping Out (from 1991). Here dancing serves as a kind of communal activity that brings our cast together and moves the plot forward, while providing some surprisingly spiffy "senior" musical numbers.

The endearing and feisty Ms Staunton (above: center, right) plays the woman whose marriage suddenly ends, after which she appears on the doorstep of her estranged sister (Ms Imrie -- below, right -- in the richest movie role she has had in some years) and is promptly sucked into the quite interesting life and various friendships of her sibling.

How this all happens is handled with style and finesse, and the movie is chock-a-block with little details that ring as true as they are specific. (That's Joanna Lumley, above, left.) Among those friendships is that of a rather sad-sack-but-appealing fellow (Mr. Spall, below, right) who, after a not-so-hot first meeting, becomes a large part of our heroine's new life.

Things happen -- some within the control of our characters, others completely out of their control -- the plot evolves, and the dancing takes its place, front-and-center and wonderful fun. By the time of the finale and the movie's own special version of that ever-present rom-com cliché, the race to the airport that will reunite our lovers, you'll know exactly what to expect and will then love every moment up to and including the perfect freeze-frame ending.

Yes, there are some tears along the way. But when, post-credits, you rise from your theater seat, it will probably take some time before that big fat and thoroughly satisfied smile on your face disappears.

From Roadside Attractions and running a near-perfect 111 minutes, Finding Your Feet, after opening on the coasts last week, hits South Florida (and elsewhere) this Friday, April 6. Here in the Miami area, it will play the AMC Aventura Mall 24 and The Landmark at Merrick Park; in Fort Lauderdale at The Classic Gateway Theatre, and in Palm Beach County at The Movies of Delray.

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