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:: How About You

The film has been adapted from a short story by author Maeve Binchy and tells the story of Ellie (Hayley Atwell) who is left in charge of an Irish retirement home when her older sister Kate (Orla Brady) has to go and look after their sick mother. Kate has no time for Ellie and honestly expects her sister to fail the task at hand as the job is made that much harder by a group of residents none as ‘the hardcore’. This group is made up of retired showgirl, Georgia (Vanessa Redgrave), a former alcoholic judge, Donald (Joss Ackland), and two spinster sisters Hazel (Imelda Staunton) and Heather (Brenda Fricker). This group has given up on life and spends most of their time making life difficult for others.

‘How About You’ works so well because of its brilliant script. It delves into the topic of old age with a serious edge, but also provides laughs without going all out and making fun of the elderly like films such as ‘Grumpy Old Men’. This script will have you in tears one moment and laughing the next. It allows you to care for each of the characters by showing every aspect of what is occurring in their lives. Even the bit-part characters such as Alice (Joan O‘Hara) and Kate have a part of their history revealed which not only lets the audience 'feel’ for them but also prevents them from being one-dimensional. Of course the ‘histories’ of the main characters are explored in great depth and even here we find surprises to keep the audience on their toes.

The other standout from ‘How About You’ is the acting. There simply isn‘t one weak performance, but then when you get an ensemble cast together that consists of screen-legends such as Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton, Brenda Fricker and Joss Ackland what else can you expect? Even relative newcomer, Hayley Atwell holds her own. Despite being the main star of the film a lesser actress could well have become 'over-awed’ by the screen legends around her; instead she puts in a strong performance that well and truly shows she will be a star of the future.

Director, Anthony Byrne also does a fabulous job by not only capturing the spectacular Irish countryside but also manages to capture each character‘s emotions in a way seldom seen in modern film. Some will argue that 'How About You’ is a bit slow; yes it is a dialogue driven film, but it's not a boring watch as it fully captures all your emotions. This is one of the films of the year.