Daily Archives: December 24, 1993

The Summer House

Jeanne Moreau, Joan Plowright, Julie Walters, and newcomer Lena Headey star in an enjoyable English comedy directed by Waris Hussein and set in Croydon, a straitlaced London suburb, in 1959. The story, adapted by Martin Sherman from Alice Thomas Ellis’s novel The Clothes in the Wardrobe, concerns a young woman (Headey) who finds herself engaged to a self-absorbed and insensitive local (David Threlfall) she couldn’t care less about. Her mother (Walters), prospective mother-in-law (Plowright), and everyone else in the vicinity somehow manage to dissuade her from backing out, and her only confidant proves to be Lili (Moreau), an unconventional, half-Egyptian friend of the family who turns up for the wedding and slowly but surely, using an arsenal of wiles, does what she can to set things right. Apart from offering a juicy star turn to Moreau, the movie has a lot of mordantly funny things to say about the conventionality of suburban English life, and all the actors shine; with Maggie Steed and John Wood. Starts Saturday, December 25, Fine Arts. Read more

Bad Behavior

A middle-class Irish couple living in London with their two young sons are at the center of Les Blair’s fresh, lively, and utterly convincing comedy-drama about contemporary urban life. He’s a town planner (The Crying Game’s Stephen Rea) and she’s a housewife who works part-time at a bookstore (Waterland’s Sinead Cusack). The film carries no script credit and was essentially generated by the actors in collaboration with Blair. As a consequence, the minimal plot, involving such matters as a refurbished bathroom and the couple’s friends and coworkers, rambles a bit, but the focus is almost entirely on character, especially the lead couple and their marriage, and the film’s surface glitters with moments of actorly and behavioral truth. With Saira Todd, Clare Higgins, Philip Jackson, and Phil Daniels, who does a swell job of playing identical twins (1992). Music Box, Friday, December 24, through Thursday, January 6. Read more