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How About You (DVD Review)

22 Mar, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

How About You

Prebook 3/26/09; Street 4/21/09
Box Office $0.07 million
$27.99 DVD
Stars Vanessa Redgrave, Hayley Atwell, Brenda Fricker, Imelda Staunton, Joss Ackland.

Facing the twilight years of life is a sobering reality no one can avoid. To the handful of eccentric residents inhabiting a bucolic Irish retirement home in County Down, boorish behavior toward each other and the staff supplants fears of aging, missed loved ones and abandonment. 

It also threatens the home’s closure by authorities as potential new residents are put off by the appalling antics.

When Ellie (Hayley Atwell) comes to visit the home operated by her older sister Kate (Orla Brady), she is put to work and soon encounters manic-depressive Georgia (Vanessa Redgrave), who likes midday martinis with an olive, cigarettes and dispensing relationship advice (“Men should be left waiting, not the other way around”).

Acerbic former judge Donald (Joss Ackland) acts like a wounded lion when not delivered breakfast in bed. Spinster sisters Hazel (Imelda Staunton) and Heather (Brenda Fricker) barely meet the home’s age requirement, their insecurities nonetheless mandating residence.

When Kate suddenly has to leave to care for their ill mother and staffers scatter for the Christmas holiday, Ellie is left in charge of the incorrigible residents, with interesting results.

Notable in this charming 2007 film is the last performance of veteran Irish stage and TV actress Joan O’Hara as Alice, who wishes nothing more than to visit the river outside and smoke pot before she succumbs to cancer. Her remembrances about lost youth and love drive the film’s emotional core, underscoring life’s fleeting existence and stark finality.

“You only see things clearly when you are about to leave,” she says.

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