Esio Trot

The full title is "Roald Dahl's Esio Trot" but that's such a cumbersome name for such a tidy, satisfying little film. It's unrated but let me assure you, there are no sweaty bodies, no guns, no vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff. Just a sweet little character study and (we hope) a love story.

Directed by Dearbhla Walsh ("Little Dorrit") and adapted from Mr. Dahl's story by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually") and Paul Mayhew-Archer ("Mrs. Brown's Boys"), this sweet romance for seniors is just the ticket for a quiet summer evening. I bought my Region 2 DVD from Amazon a few weeks ago, so we can always hope it will be in Region 1 format very soon.

We see an apartment building that has its share of retired people as well as families, but we become most involved with an American retired in England, who tends the flowers blooming on his balcony and casts longing looks at a the lovely widow who lives below with her tortoise.

Our cast:
  • Dustin Hoffman ("Last Chance Harvey") is Mr. Hoppy, shy, tongue-tied and awkward. Also lonely.
  • Judi Dench ("Philomena") Lavinia is his gregarious neighbor; she may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but she is always upbeat and positive. Also lonely.
  • Richard Cordery ("Mr. Turner") Mr. Pringle is a pushy neighbor who invites himself to Mr. Hoppy's apartment for dinner. He is boorish, rude and always interrupts. Also lonely.
  • James Corden ("Into the Woods") is our narrator. He is on his way across town, catching trams, dodging traffic and getting on the wrong bus, but he drops the fourth wall to explain what is going on and why our characters do what they do. He isn't lonely.
Several things set this delicious little story apart, but to me the thing that first comes to mind is the sound track. Louis Armstrong sings, "In My Solitude," "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," "Hello Dolly," and "Kiss Me Once (and Kiss Me Twice)" to keep us people of a certain age smiling all the way.

I found the plethora of turtles (yes, I said TURTLES!) to be a bit disconcerting, but they are appropriate to the story. Well, given the title of the movie, I concede that Spartacus is actually a tortoise.... You'll see...
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No trailer, sorry...
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