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Is Anybody There? (DVD Review)

11 Nov, 2009 By: Jordan Harrison

Street 11/17/09
Box Office $2 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language including sexual references, and some disturbing images.
Stars Michael Caine, Bill Milner, Rosemary Harris, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey, Leslie Phillips.

Is Anybody There?
tells a story of life and death and attempts to define the purpose of being alive.

Young Edward (Bill Milner) does not lead the life of a typical 10-year-old. Set in 1980s seaside England, After financial hardships befall an English family, Edward’s parents must transform their small home into a senior living facility to make ends meet.

Throughout the beginning and middle of the film, Edward is visibly unhappy with his parent’s decision and with having to give up his room to elderly strangers. He gets into trouble when he begins dabbling in the afterlife and questioning where one goes after death.

Things get worse upon the arrival of an eccentric and retired magician named Clarence (Michael Caine). He frequently reminisces about his old life and laments over an improper goodbye from his deceased wife.

Clarence eventually opens up to Edward, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. The two opposite-aged characters balance each other perfectly. Clarence teaches Edward to embrace life and live in the moment, and in turn Edward teaches Clarence how to come to terms with his past.

Michael Caine is brilliant as the unlikely hero and role model. His dialogue with young Bill Milner seems absolutely natural, as does the acting. The scenes containing the two are more similar to a glimpse into a real-life relationship between a grandfather and grandson who share a rock solid bond.

Is Anybody There? successfully integrates the unlikely friendship story with the curiosity and mystery of the afterlife. It is simultaneously inspirational, funny, sad and dramatic. Attempting to be everything to everyone can distract from a movie’s message, but this film succeeds in every area it explores.

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