Venus (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/10/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 19th October

Sharply written, frequently hilarious and ultimately moving, this is a delight from start to finish, thanks to terrific performances from Peter O'Toole and newcomer Jodie Whittaker.

What's it all about?
Peter O'Toole stars as Maurice, a 70-something actor who divides his time between acting (usually as an elderly patient in Casualty) and reminiscing over old times with his best friend and fellow thespian, Ian (Leslie Phillips). However, when Ian's grand-niece Jessie (Jodie Whittaker) arrives to take care of him, Maurice finds himself increasingly taken with her and takes her on a tour of London's cultural hotspots.

The Good
Venus reunites director Roger Michell with writer Hanif Kureshi, after their previous collaborations on both The Buddha of Suburbia and The Mother. Kureshi's script is both hilarious and moving, brimming with terrific one-liners and perceptive observations about art and highbrow culture.

Peter O'Toole famously refused an honorary Oscar on the grounds that he could still win a proper one and on the basis of his performance here, he may well have been right. He's thoroughly convincing as Maurice and extremely affecting in both his affection for Ian and his growing admiration for Jessie.

The Great
Newcomer Jodie Whittaker proves a real find – she's gorgeous, talented and has impressive comic timing, as witnessed by her delivery of the line, I'd rather go to Top Shop. There's also terrific support from Leslie Phillips (whose banter with Maurice is achingly funny), Richard Griffiths (as another actor friend) and Vanessa Redgrave as Maurice's ex-wife.

There are some truly wonderful scenes. Highlights include: Maurice's disastrous attempt to spy on Jessie when he gets her a job as an artist's model; Maurice clipping Ian's toenails; Maurice attempting to buy Jessie a dress; and Jessie introducing Maurice to the delights of Bacardi Breezers.

Worth seeing?
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the London Film Festival, this is a brilliantly written, beautifully acted drama that is both hilarious and deeply moving. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Venus (15)
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Content updated: 20/10/2017 17:16

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