Last Chance Harvey: Melodrama, Starring Oscar Winners Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and Emma Thompson (Howards End)

Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) reunite in the TV-like melodrama, “Last Chance Harvey,” a simplistic yet hopeful romance that celebrates the possibility of new beginnings at any age.

The film is directed and written by Joel Hopkins (who previously made “Jump Tomorrow”).  New Yorker Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is on the verge of losing his dead-end job as a jingle writer. Warned by his boss (Richard Schiff) that he has just one more chance to deliver, Harvey goes to London for a weekend to attend his daughters (Liane Balaban) wedding but promises to be back on Monday morning to make an important meetingor else.

Harvey arrives in London only to learn his daughter has chosen to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle instead of him. Doing his best to hide his devastation, he leaves the wedding before the reception in hopes of getting to the airport on time, but misses his plane anyway. When he calls his boss to explain, he is fired on the spot.

Drowning his sorrows at the airport bar, Harvey strikes up a conversation with Kate (Emma Thompson), a slightly prickly, 40-something employee of the Office of National Statistics. Kate, whose life is limited to work, the occasional humiliating blind date and endless phone calls from her smothering mother (Eileen Atkins), is touched by Harvey, who finds himself energized by her intelligence and compassion.

Once the couple meets up, the narrative become predictable and familiar  Thus, the growing connection between the pair inspires both as they unexpectedly transform one anothers lives.

The acting of the two leads is decent, but not more.  I am aware of the fact that, unfortuntaely, there are not many good roles in Hollywood movies for actors of Hoffman’s age (the star is now over 70, though he looks much younger).  Too bad, it’s rare to see a teaming of such talented actors as Hoffman and Emma Thompson (who may also suffer from the bias against middle-aged actresses, even if she is just in her 40s).


Overture Films
Release: January 23, 2009

Directed by: Joel Hopkins
Screenplay by: Joel Hopkins
Produced by: Tim Perell, Nicola Usborne
Executive Produced by: Jawal Nga


Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Kathy Baker, Liane Balaban, James Brolin, Richard Schiff.