With a penchant to a brilliantly British made & based movie, especially when most of it is in our familiar London backyard territory, with the added adorable actor ingredients of Celia Imrie, Imelda Stanton, John Sessions & Timothy Spall in the motion picture mix, on the face of it at least, there seemed little fault to find in expectantly feel good film, but did “Finding Your Feet” deliver in delight or did it drop a few magical marks in our estimation?
We have to admit have a penchant for a quintessentially British based & made movie, recent favourites including “The Quartet”, “45 Years” & “The Lady In The Van”, all three great examples of boasting some of the country’s leading thespians, not least Maggie Smith, Tom Courtney, Charlotte Rampling & Michael Gambon, two of the three oozing enthralling emotions intermixed with that fabulous fell good factor that makes them repeatedly watchable. Add to these examples classics such as “Notting Hill”, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” & “Love Actually” and this particular screenplay genre set sit’s comfortably in our DVD collection, while when it comes to seeing these types of screenings in the cinema, we tread relatively carefully, choosing early weekend or weekday sittings so as to avoid the crowds as we tend to find comedies in cinema’s a little unnerving, especially when others laughing is offputtingly loud. So, we were gratified to find a scantly filled auditorium for film “Finding Your Feet”, one which had received considerable advance coverage on our favoured local wireless station, Jo Good on BBC Radio London having benefitted from a press screening weeks ahead of its formal release, then interviewing its two female leads, Celia Imrie & Imelda Staunton, with other superb stars of the British stage & screen extending to John Sessions & Timothy Spall, this was a motion picture we had earmarked & thus eagerly anticipated. And, despite not expecting it to hit the high notes of both “All The Money In the World” & “The Shape of Water”, our two screenplay’s of the year so far, given its decidedly different genre, added to the quintessentially English slant of this fulsome feelgood film, “Finding Your Feet” was to prove as much a perfect fit for its title as its enthrallingly entertaining as well as familiar surroundings sumptuousness we have come to expect of these British born & made movies, this one following in the London footsteps of recent homely release “Hampstead” but, for us, excelling in so many ways.
So, what of the “Finding Your Feet” plot and why did it score so highly in our estimation? Well, the story in a nutshell charts the marriage crisis of Lady Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) whose husband, retiring police chief Mike (John Sessions) is caught in the act at his leaving do, copulating with his extramarital affair, Sandra’s best friend (played by Josie Lawrence), thus invoking Sandra’s departing of the swanky London suburbs set, landing in her sister Biff’s (Celia Imrie) squalor of inner London council house, Biff’s way of life so far removed from Sandra’s, the result of their reunion after years apart, sure to create fireworks of fun & frivolity. Then enter Charlie (Timothy Spall) who, like Biff, lives life on the rough & wild side unlike the stuffy Sandra who takes umbridge to their adolescent antics but eventually falls for Charlie’s charms, also joining in with their dance group which sees a Christmas charity event of their on Piccadilly Circus go viral, leading to a trip to romantic Rome. However in amongst the cherishing (and it times comedic) comradery, are scenes of utter sadness, for instance Charlie’s wife in a home suffering from advanced dementia, the untimely death of Biff’s boyfriend date fling, but moreover her own health plight, her fight against stage four cancer which she hides from Sandra beyond diagnosis & prognosis, Biff eventually succumbing while on that trip to Rome. However, with plenty of other twists & turns to he tale, that along with the adorable in lead’s Celia, Imelda, John & Timothy, along with superb supports from David Hayman as Charlie’s best buddy Ted and Josie Lawrence Mike Abbott’s affair, Pamela, there is so much to love about “Finding Your Feet” which fired on virtually every cinematic cylinder in comparison to the abundantly average “Hampstead” for which it was always going to be compared. And while the ending was obviously inevitable, it didn’t detract for the delight on display by a film that is sure to find its way into our DVD collection and sit comfortably with its brilliantly British viewing bedfellows. (DISCO MATT)