Finding Your Feet review – starry cast save creaky golden-years Britcom

Imelda Staunton and Celia Imrie play sisters forced to live under the same roof in a feelgood but frustrating comedy

Here’s another gentle golden-years Britcom about feisty bus-pass recipients sticking two fingers up at pompous types of all ages: a Werther’s Unoriginal. The Marigold Hotel cast headed off for India; this film is set mostly in overcast Britain but our heroes here get a weekend break in Rome.

The lineup is great. Imelda Staunton plays Sandra, a woman who has suppressed her natural joie de vivre for a lifetime to be married to complacent police chief Mike (John Sessions). When that marriage hits the buffers, Sandra has to go and live with her hippyish, leftish sister Bif (Celia Imrie). Gradually she learns to be less uptight, less angry. She even goes along to Bif’s dance club and remembers that she herself used to be a bit of a mover – and finds herself falling for affable Charlie, played by Timothy Spall.

No movie with these excellent actors can be a complete dead loss, of course, but it’s the kind of feelgood film that somehow always manages to set a keynote of feel-bad, feel-sad gentility. The pace can be disconcerting. There are a fair few scenes preceded by characters laboriously arriving in black cabs whose drivers don’t need to be paid. The dancing is the best thing about it, but here again there is frustration. Staunton is a musical-theatre legend, but she isn’t allowed to strut her stuff for more than a few moments at a time. Perhaps this film should have been a stage musical.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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