Brian Cox, Anna Chancellor, Emilia Fox
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…feels as if it belongs on the small screen.
This twee drama about a cantankerous and ailing actor and the caregiver who cracks his crusty shell is vaguely reminiscent of 1983’s stagy film, The Dresser (with a smattering of Scent Of A Woman), thanks to its bombastic thespian central character.
Brian Cox plays Sir Michael Gifford, a theatrical legend and an insufferable curmudgeon who has a reputation for alienating the parade of caregivers appointed by his long suffering daughter, played well by Emilia Fox. Sir Michael stubbornly insists on remaining in his massive country home while suffering from a rare type of Parkinson’s disease. Enter the newest hire, Dorottya (Coco König), a charming Hungarian refugee and gently persuasive care assistant who worms her way into Sir Michael’s crabby heart by judiciously deploying Shakespeare quotes along with the adult nappies. It turns out that she’s an aspiring actress with designs on being accepted into a prestigious drama academy, so Sir Michael soon finds himself useful once again, and a friendship is forged.
Director, János Edelényi, oversees a handsomely produced movie that nevertheless feels as if it belongs on the small screen. There’s a mild subplot involving a lifetime achievement award and “will he or won’t he” be permitted to accept it in person by his interfering daughter. Despite Cox’s fine performance and numerous epic rants, including an apoplectic tirade from King Lear (“how sharper than a serpent’s tooth…”), the drama is weak, and the sentiment is troweled on with a heavy hand.