Second Best

A rather glum, halfway interesting film, about a single man (William Hurt) living and working as a postmaster in a tiny Welsh village who decides to adopt a ten-year-old boya recalcitrant youngster who still reserves all his emotional loyalty for his real father in prison. Directed by former cinematographer Chris Menges from a script by David Cook adapting his own novel, this is impressive mainly for Hurt’s finely shaded and wholly committed performance. With Keith Allen (also fine as the boy), Prunella Scales, Jane Horrocks (Life Is Sweet), and Alan Cumming. (JR)

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