This movie is listed as a comedy, however I found myself closer to tears many a time instead of laughter, touched by the tender scenes. An Australian, an American and an American Irish actor (Imogen Poots being the only English actor) in the lead roles didn't entirely feel like I was watching a typical British film either. However, this movie adapted from Nick Hornby's (About a Boy) acclaimed novel, managed to touch on the subject of suicide and depression while being funny and strikingly humane.
Four lost souls with the same objective meet at the top of 'Topper Tower' one New Year's Eve, a London hotspot for jumpers. Considered a popular night for suicides (the other being Valentine's Day) on this night it gets a little too crowded on the rooftop. Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) is a disgraced ex talk show host who took a wrong turn and lost everything. He finds himself unable to live with the humiliation and decides to end it all. Socially inept but a kind soul wearing her heart on her sleeve, Maureen Thompson (Toni Collette) is just very sad and very lonely. Jess Crichton (Imogen Poots) is heartbroken and reeling from a tragedy, struggling to come to terms with it. JJ Maguire (Aaron Paul) a pizza delivery boy, among other things, is just lost in all the failures of his life but keeps trying to find purpose. He tries finding new ways to be happy but struggles with that also.
When these four strangers each interrupt the other's plans for death in solitude, they end up making a pact to forget about it for that night and to do nothing about ending their lives till Valentine,s Day - six weeks down the track. Together they become a kind of slightly uncomfortable dysfunctional family who actually do have a deep sense of caring for each other. They continue to look for reasons to keep on living.
They say the book is always better than the movie and in this case this may have been true as I found it pretty average. Perhaps I was looking forward to an epic film with a strong British flavour. I do believe they must be saving that for opening and closing nights at the Emirates British Film Festival. Imogen Poots shines in her role as a troubled young girl who is sharp as a whip, as did Rosamund Pike in her small role as a television talk show hostess. I love Toni Collette but found it difficult to watch her in the role of an inept nervous person. I give this a 6.5 out of 10. Do check out the program for this film festival at the Palace Cinemas website or the Emirates British Film Festival website. There looks to be some great offerings and for the nostalgic, there are some winners in the selection of six 1960's films.