Hampstead

1hr 43mins | Rated PG | Coarse language & sexual references

The ageless Diane Keaton plays Emily, an American widow with a mountain of debts and a leaky roof living in an incredibly valuable flat in leafy Hampstead. Emily volunteers in a charity shop and seems to sport Keaton’s Annie Hall wardrobe and dreamy, idealistic attitude to life. Her son Philip occasionally drops by but such a brief role seems a waste of time for Grantchester actor James Norton.
Snooty neighbour Fiona (Lesley Manville) is like a posher version of Hyacinth Bucket, obsessed with keeping up appearances. She is keen to maintain sky-high property prices at all costs and protect the neighbourhood for her own privileged elite. She also keeps foisting resistible suitors on Emily.
But Emily is much more interested in Donald (Brendan Gleeson), a grumpy tramp who lives in a shack of his own creation in the grounds of a derelict hospital nearby. Donald is probably the area’s most environmentally friendly resident as he generates his own electricity, grows his own vegetables, washes in the river and lives off the grid. When Emily and Donald eventually meet, it is the beginning of a fine romance.
Emily falls hook, line and sinker and when Donald is threatened with eviction by greedy property developers she leads the campaign to save his home. In its favour Hampstead has the benefit of effortlessly charismatic performances from the two stars. There is nothing remotely challenging in the roles but Gleeson is charming and understated and there is a real spark of chemistry with Keaton.
A cast of British stalwarts includes Simon Callow as the trial judge, Jason Watkins as a creepy accountant and a scene-stealing turn from Phil Davis as a key witness. But in the end Hampstead is mere froth that might bring a smile to the face of incurable romantics and anyone in search of very undemanding, soft-centred, old-fashioned escapism.
Daily Express

 
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