Writer: Robert Festinger (Screenplay)
Starring: Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson, James Norton, Lesley Manville, Simon Callow
Plot: An American widow finds unexpected love with a man living wild on Hampstead Heath when they take on the developers who want to destroy his home.
Tagline – See love from a new perspective
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Great Drama
Story: Hampstead starts as widowed American Emily (Keaton) is starting to see her funds dry up with her charity shop job not helping make her life easier, her son is looking to move away and her, with the leader of her apartment Fiona (Manville) trying to force Emily into different mindset, which includes the destruction of the old hospital across the road from them.
Emily learns of a hermit Donald (Gleeson) peacefully living on the land and the two hit it off, learning that life is worth enjoying, not destroying, which sees Emily finding a cause to fight for, as she starts to find love once again.
Thoughts on Hampstead
Characters – Emily is a widow who has been getting on with her life, not taking life too seriously after her husband’s death, working in a charity shop, listening to people that have bigger plans, just going along with them. Her son is looking to move away leaving her alone, until she learns of a hermit living across the road from her flat, one that she wants to help keep his home, that has been planned for destruction for a new flat. Her kind nature is what makes her special, she doesn’t want to use the position her husband left her in to look down on people. Donald is the hermit living in the heath, he has done for years now, he keeps to himself, while having a connection to the locals, who respect the work he does for them, where he never bothers anyone in life, he must learn to accept help with Emily trying to help him keep his home, the one people want to take away from him, meaning he must hide his aggressive side, which could cause more problems. Philip is Emily’s son that has stay around longer than he would have liked to, where he is going to be living away soon. Fiona runs the flat, trying to keep everyone together in decisions regarding the flat, using the position of power to keep everyone away from the lower classes.
Performances – Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in the leading roles are fantastic, they bring to life these two characters with ease, being enjoyable to watch throughout. Lesley Manville does bring the closest side to a villain to life, being the rich person looking down on people.
Story – The story here follows a widow that befriends a hermit as they fall in love in the fight to keep his shack from destruction from developers who want to put a new flat structure there. This is a story that shows that people need to learn other people’s stories in life before deciding they are causing problems, open up to life and learn more about the people around you. It shows that even after losing loved ones, you could find love in the last place you look and that if something is worth fighting for, you can help people. This is told in the sweetest way without needing to become too in your face either.
Comedy/Romance – The comedy in the film comes from see how the unlikely duo come together in life, with the romance playing into that showing us that life isn’t always what you expect it to be.
Settings – The film uses the settings very well, we see the luxury like flats that Emily lives in, along with peace and quiet that Donald lives in, even in the big city.
Scene of the Movie – Court case.
Final Thoughts – This is an enjoyable romantic comedy that shows that you can find happiness in the strangest places in life, carried by excellent performances.