A grown up romance, wonderful chemistry, back stories and depth, closure and just a nice feeling. Sometimes simple is best.
Keaton and Gleeson deliver charming performances, with her as another sweet but slightly nervy type and him as one of his hairy, scary, bear-like chaps with a heart of gold.
Keaton and Gleeson are simply too good for there not to be some fun here, despite a leisurely pace.
Mail on Sunday
Emily Walters is an American widow living a peaceful, uneventful existence in the idyllic Hampstead Village of London, when she meets a local recluse, Donald Horner. For 17 years, Donald has lived—wildly yet peacefully—in a ramshackle hut near the edge of the forest. When Emily learns his home is the target of developers who will stop at nothing to remove him, saving Donald and his property becomes her personal mission. Despite his gruff exterior and polite refusals for help, Emily is drawn to him—as he is to her—and what begins as a charitable cause evolves into a relationship that will grow even as the bulldozers close in.
Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson are two good reasons to see this sweet, pleasant romantic comedy. As the title suggests, this story takes place in Hampstead where once-wealthy widow Diane is dealing with a financial crisis created by her adulterous husband, and nicely groomed vagrant Brendan is battling property developers trying to evict him from his makeshift home.
There are lots to like about Hampstead: As a love letter to the area, director Hopkins captures the quaintness of Hampstead’s streets and the beauty of the woods and fields of the Heath. The other stunner is Keaton’s costuming – stylish and so very Keaton. It’s also a film about second chances and finding love in unexpected places, and touches on newsworthy topics such as homelessness, housing shortages and green spaces versus urban crawl – not deep, just simple entertainment with feel-good vibes.
UK 2017, 98 min, rated PG (sexual references & coarse language)
Directed by Joel Hopkins
Starring Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson, James Norton, Lesley Manville, Simon Callow & Hugh Skinner