The Carer

"Very Good"

The Carer Review


Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life to the full regardless of your age. As a colourful national treasure of an actor (think Richard Burton crossed with Ian McKellan), Cox storms through this film with personality and energy. And in his interaction with his costars, the filmmakers make some important points with offhanded charm.

Cox plays Sir Michael Gifford, a Shakespearean icon forced into retirement by Parkinson's. Living on his isolated country estate, he clashes continually with his daughter Sophia (Emilia Fox) and his assistant Milly (Anna Chancellor) about how he should live, dismissing a series of carers they have hired for him. Then the Hungarian Dorottya (Coco Konig) arrives, cracking through his bluster with her sharp intelligence, blunt compassion and her own experience performing Shakespeare's plays back home. She also conspires with him to attend a critics' ceremony at which he's being given a life achievement award. Sophia thinks he's not up to attending, so Dorottya turns to Milly and Michael's trusty driver Joseph (Karl Johnson) for help.

The simplicity of the plot helps the film avoid the usual pitfalls of these kinds of movies. There aren't any villains here (Sophia is just unusually concerned), and there's no romantic nonsense between Michael and Dorottya. The central message isn't revolutionary (people who are old or infirm shouldn't be hidden from society), and the plot never goes anywhere unexpected. But in the characters, the film finds a powerful resonance. It's funny, smart and utterly charming. And the cast deliver beautifully off-handed performances. Newcomer Konig nicely underplays Dorottya, which makes her strikingly likeable, especially as her own subplot about applying to acting school gurgles quietly in the background. Chancellor and Fox find intriguing textures in their roles, which are more complex than expected.

But of course this is Cox's show, and he dives fully into the role of a cantankerous, hammy old thespian who isn't remotely ready to go gentle into that good night. Yes, the literate script cleverly weaves quotes from Shakespeare into virtually every line of dialogue, which may make it feel a bit overwritten. But this highlights the themes beautifully, adding nuance and a sense of timelessness to the central theme. It's good to be reminded how appalling it is that that the elderly are treated as if their useful days are behind them, simply because the rest of us don't want to be reminded of our mortality. Without shouting, the film reminds us that these feisty, frail, fully alive people can show us how to live.

Rich Cline



The Carer

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 89 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 3rd January 2016

Production compaines: Mythberg Films, Hopscotch Films, Vita Nova Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 8.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Janos Edelenyi

Producer: Jozsef Berger, Steve Bowden, Charlotte Wontner

Starring: as Sir Michael, as Sophia, as Milly, Coco König as Dorottya, as Himself, Selina Cadell as Mrs. Trudeau, as Joseph, Andrew Havill as Dr. Satterthwaite, Andor Lukáts as Uncle Ferenczi, as Landlord

Also starring:

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