Caine is able, the rest less so

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -


WHEN AN ac­tor has been around as long as Sir Michael Caine, it is easy to for­get how good he can be in the right role. His pro­lific ca­reer is pep- pered with parts that he ob­vi­ously did just for the cash and then there are the price­less gems — Milo Trindle in Sleuth, love-struck El­liott in Han­nah and Her Sis­ters and soul­ful Frank in Ed­u­cat­ing Rita — which are be­yond bril­liant.

The griev­ing wid­ower in San­dra Net­tel­beck’s adap­ta­tion of Françoise Dorner’s book La Douceur As­sas­sine could have been an­other corker for Caine, but there is not enough light and shade in the mis­ery-drenched script to fa­cil­i­tate such a per­for­mance.

More’s the pity as Caine gets within a hair’s breadth of the emo­tional wringer. But a film about the im­pact of be­reave­ment with­out any side show is te­dious for the au­di­ence. Light re­lief, al­beit from a lonely di­rec­tion­less young woman comes in the shape of charm­ing Clé­mence Poésy, who plays a cha cha teacher called Pauline. A serendip­i­tous meet­ing on a bus brings Pauline into the life of mourn­ful Mr Mor­gan, an Amer­i­can in Paris whose ac­cent is stranded some­where be­tween Bos­ton and Bow.

Di­alect aside, the two do a con­vinc­ing job at hav­ing us be­lieve they en­joy each other’s com­pany, what with him re­mind­ing her of her late fa­ther and she bear­ing phys­i­cal sim­i­lar­i­ties to his much-missed wife.

As I said, death pre­vails in this pic­ture, though Paris looks lovely. A failed sui­cide at­tempt by Mor­gan brings his son (Justin Kirk) and daugh­ter (Gil­lian An­der­son) to France and with them the skele­tons in the cup­board of their trou­bled child­hood. From this, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s not a happy film but there are ex­pres­sions on Sir Michael’s face that only a mas­ter crafts­man can deliver.

Sir Michael Caine and Clé­mence Poésy in Mr Mor­gan’s Last Love

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