An Awfully Big Adventure Movie Review
Cast & Crew
Director : Mike Newell
Screenwriter : Charles Wood
In the year 1995 and at the age of 20, the fair-skinned redhead had what was arguably her biggest and most noteworthy role in An Awfully Big Adventure, then took smaller and smaller roles in smaller and smaller films until vanishing completely from the movies in 1999. (Does a 1997 marriage to Skeet Ulrich have anything to do with it? Who can say.
Cates is far and away the only reason to watch this movie, despite appearances by Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman in major roles. Both acquit themselves well, but it's Cates, whose naive yokel ultimately learns the unvarnished truth about the behind the scenes world of British theater, that makes the picture worthwhile.
The story involves Cates' Stella as she works -- and sleeps -- her way up the ladder (as it is) in a small theatrical acting troupe in 1947 Liverpool. She accepts -- possibly even embraces -- the awfulness of it all, until she ultimately realizes how hollow and pointless it all is.
It may not be the kind of movie you've come to expect from Four Weddings and a Funeral director Mike Newell, but he's had his hand in darker material before (Donnie Brasco, Pushing Tin). However, Adventure offers Newell at his nastiest, and those looking for a lighthearted Noises Off! romp through backstage are going to be disappointed. Even if you are prepared for it, the disjointed script and meandering structure may be just as off-putting.
Not to be confused with The Amazing Panda Adventure.
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