Well my friends are gone
And my hair is gray
And I ache in the places where I used to play
And I'm crazy for love but I'm not coming on
I'm just paying my rent every day In the tower of song
-- Tower of Song, Leonard Cohen
Harvey Shines (Dustin Hoffman) is a New York jingle-writer who doesn't quite toil in the tower of song; maybe in a small office in a nearby strip mall. But the rest of it applies; he's older, tired, headed to London for his daughter's wedding and obsessing about getting back fast in time for a job-related meeting. Harvey's dreading the trip before he even takes it, which guarantees it will be dreadful, but then he meets Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), another single, singular person unwilling to confront the terrifying possibility of happiness. ...
Written and directed by Joel Hopkins (who previously gave us the younger-skewed Jump Tomorrow), Last Chance Harvey may be easily -- in fact, too easily -- dismissed as "Before Sunrise for the sunset years," as Harvey and Kate meet accidentally, mesh immediately, dare to hope, get brought together by chance and separated by accident. Younger audiences will ignore Last Chance Harvey like a an overdue bill notice in the post, but if you've been around the block of life a few times -- on the bus or under it -- you'll find that it wins you over, bit by bit, in no small part thanks to the mix of effortless charm and contemplated sincerity Hoffman and Thompson bring to their work; the whole film has an air of lightweight gravity to it, and Hopkins may not be swinging for the fences, but he knows just how to swing and hit for a solid double.