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Last Chance Harvey is a cute love story that brings two fractured souls together, one in a place far from home, and the other who finds a place in her heart for love.
Dustin Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a down and out New York jingle writer, who travels to London for his daughter’s weekend wedding. Upon reaching London, he waves off airport interviewer Kate, played by Emma Thompson, but comes to rely on her friendship later. Their chance meeting blossoms into a late-life romance that serves as a clarion call to us all that it’s never too late for love.
Harvey is nervous on the long flight to Europe, a condition that is aggravated by his concerns about his latest project at work. He’s not even staying at the house with the other members of the wedding party; his daughter has put him up in a hotel room by himself.
After fidgeting with his outfit and hair, Harvey feels nowhere near comfortable when he finally arrives at his daughter’s pre-wedding dinner hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband. Harvey abruptly leaves his daughter’s wedding, because he’s not chosen to walk her down the aisle. He’s committed to returning to work on Monday as he promised, but he discovers that he can’t get a flight out of London. When he calls his boss, he’s immediately fired on the spot and decides to drown his sorrows at a nearby restaurant.
Meanwhile Kate is living a dull, frumpy existence, while trying to appease her smothering mother’s requests to find a boyfriend. Her mother occupies her time snooping on her new neighbor.
Kate is bummed out after a blind date goes bad, and she again runs into Harvey at the restaurant. They strike up what begins as a difficult conversation, but finally she convinces him that he must attend his daughter’s reception. He agrees to return but only if Kate agrees to go with him. Harvey buys Kate new clothes to go to the reception and earns a new respect from his daughter for sticking it out, even though he had originally felt so humiliated at the wedding.
The other members of the wedding party wonder about the strange woman who accompanies Harvey back to the reception, but they all agree that Harvey’s attitude has changed for the better.
They plan a date for the next day, but Harvey becomes ill and hospitalized, with Kate spending endless hours at the meeting place. After they renew their budding relationship, they discover that neither can imagine how they managed in life without the other.
In the days that follow, Harvey and Kate begin creating fun times of their own, and Kate’s mother discovers that the new neighbor is a friendly sort, after all.
Last Chance Harvey is proof positive that even when life seems to have dealt you the worst hand ever, if you just keep going a bit longer, something better awaits around the corner.
Last Chance Harvey is available from Anchor Bay Entertainment on a two-disc DVD May 5, 2009.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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