Empire (UK) - - REVIEW - KIM NEW­MAN

Out 19 NOVEM­BER / Cert PG / 89 Mins

“Do you just do your writ­ing now or are you still work­ing?” a well-mean­ing fel­low asks Fa­mous North­ern Nov­el­ist Char­lie (Al­bert Finney) when he leaves his lux­u­rius Lon­don bub­ble (ha!) to visit his gritty, grey home town. Finney’s wince at that re­mark is per­fectly judged un­der­act­ing. Scripted by She­lagh De­laney and di­rected (his only cin­ema credit) by Finney, this is an es­sen­tial film within the 1960s move­ment to tell Bri­tish sto­ries. A few years on from the in­tel­lec­tu­als-led scene dubbed An­gry Young Men, this work­ing-class hero is rich and tired, play­ing with the toys (tv in ev­ery room) he’s bought, still clown­ing with his mate (Colin Blake­ley) when drunk but ru­in­ing the evening in a higher class of res­tau­rant, sep­a­rated from a prac­ti­cal wife (Bil­lie Whitelaw) and hooked up with an ex­haust­ing groupie (Liza Min­nelli). Sharp, funny, wist­ful and hon­est, with a dream­like end­ing.

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