Finding Your Feet is a British romantic comedy written by Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard and directed by Richard Loncraine. Unlike the vast majority of films out there, it has an older cast and makes no apologies for it. No one likes dwelling on frailties and aging, it is why Hollywood pretty much is youth obsessed and overlooks a large segment of the population in entertainment.
In the UK, the entertainment industry is somewhat like Canada’s in that people move back and forth from stage to TV to film. It happens in the States too but there seems more rigid dividing lines which keep people in their lanes. The cast of Finding Your Feet’s experience allows them to capture the character they are portraying in those small moments and in the cinematic ones as well. Too often in the big budget films, character gives way to special effects and a lack of story. The comedic timing of TV is evident everywhere and the choreographed dancing is the stage’s contribution and the cinematic moments of a morning swim, the boats on the canal or streets of London or Rome all contribute to the storytelling.
The plot starts off ordinarily enough. Lady Sandra Abbot (Imelda Staunton) prepares for her husband’s retirement with a party only to find her husband has been having an affair for a number of years. She leaves in a big blow-up in front of everyone and end up at her sister’s council estate with her brand name luggage and an air of privilege despite her desperate situation. The sister Bif (Celia Imrie) is a never married Bohemian who has been estranged from her sibling in part due to the class differences which really never mattered to her. Despite the misgivings, Bif takes Sandra in and upon hearing her sister’s weeping in the night embarks to bring her out of her shell and try to live a little.
With some prompting Sandra joins her sister at a community club dance hall. It is where she meets Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman) who are friends with her sister. She treats them rather disdainfully. Their patience and compassion win the day and Sandra comes out of her shell and re-connects with dancing, something she had left behind in childhood.
The feel good moments of the movie outweigh the dramatic and the highly skilled cast make audiences smile and laugh. If there is a weak area of the movie, it is the dancing. It is also the one confounding aspect of the movie in that the final dance number has no real lead in showing how they prepared for in terms of practice or costumes. It just happens.
Aside from that quibble, the movie delivers the goods with a general good script and solid performances and is the antithesis of what Hollywood generally delivers. A good night out.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations