Review: ‘Mr Morgan’s Last Love’ (M) ***

IT grieves me to report that while German writer/director Sandra Nettlebeck has given Michael Caine a sensitive character in a film about the vicissitudes of growing old, it is not his best performance.

Mr-Morgans-Last-LoveHe plays retired philosophy professor Matthew, an American in his 80s living alone except for memories of his wife (Jane Alexander) now awaiting his arrival to join her in a Paris cemetery.

After three years without her interpreting services, his French is inadequate for even the most mundane tasks such as ordering a bread roll with ham, cheese and a pickle.

A father/daughter relationship develops with bi-lingual dance teacher Pauline (Clèmence Poèsy). The exchange between them of personal information is somewhat restrained. Matthew’s prickly daughter Karen (Gillian Anderson) and emotionally-damaged son Miles (Justin Kirk) arrive unannounced from America on learning that he has attempted suicide. Here are the dramatis personae for family conflicts that uncover suppressed emotions.

Writing Matthew as American was unfortunate. Caine’s attempts to emulate an American accent cloud his performance in a staccato rhythm that simply doesn’t fit.

Somewhat evoking “Amour” that explored similar country to more powerful effect, “Mr Morgan’s Last Love” is bleak, which is no reason to avoid it.

At Greater Union


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