Went into the West End on Friday night to see the opening of A Long Way from Home, written and directed by Virginia Gilbert*. It was a bit like a less operatic, present day version of Death in Venice, except that the old guy Joseph (James Fox) here is besotted with a young woman instead of with an adolescent boy. I could well see how he might be beguiled by Suzanne (Natalie Dormer). Joseph is revolted by the sight of the old men who sit and watch games of boule in the French town where he has retired with Brenda (Brenda Fricker). He is old but still fit and clearly anxious not to “go gently” as Brenda exhorts him. He does not want to “go gentle into that good night”, perhaps. As a result he makes a fool of himself over Suzanne. Suzanne is on holiday with her boyfriend (Paul Nicholls), who is preoccupied with his own plans to establish some sort of wine business. The film centres on paradisiacal scenes round a vineyard, a swimming pool and perplexed, dream-like quests around local streets and the ruins of a Roman temple, where Joseph hopes to run into Suzanne. Brenda Fricker’s performance as Joseph’s wife rings very true. She knows more than she lets on and keeps her head when all about her are losing theirs. If you’re always wishing to see a film that is more akin to something by Bertolucci than to Batman, then “A Long Way from Home” is for you. I saw it at the Odeon, Panton Street.
* P.S. I forgot to boast here that we (me and the missus) met and had a chat with V.G. on the night.