(director: Andy Serkis; screenwriter: William Nicholson; cinematographer: Robert Richardson; editor: Masahiro Hirakubo; music: Nitin Sawhney; cast: Andrew Garfield (Robin Cavendish), Claire Foy (Diana Blacker), Tom Hollander (Bloggs Blacker / David Blacker), Hugh Bonneville (Teddy Hall), Stephen Mangan (Dr. Clement Aitken ), Jonathan Hyde (Dr. Entwhistle), Amit Shah (Dr. Khan), Dean-Charles Chapman (Jonathan), Diana Rigg (Lady Neville), Ed Speleers (Colin Campbell), Miranda Raison (Mary Dawney); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Jonathan Cavendish; Bleecker Street / Participant Media; 2017)
“Though produced by Robin’s son Jonathan, it never amounted to a stirring film even if its intentions were noble.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
In his directorial debut Andy Serkis films this inspirational true love story between the Britishers Robin (1930-1994) and the socialite Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy) in too much of a stiff upper lip manner.
Robin is paralyzed by polio at 28, in 1958, unable to move from the neck down or breathe without a ventilator. He invented a wheelchair that contained a battery-powered breathing apparatus, which helped to “free” many other disabled patients. The charming Robin’s true story is an iengrossing one, but the fictional one written by William Nicholson breathes in too much Hollywood claptrap and sentimental slickness.
The couple meet on the cute at a cricket match, and we catch them on a drive in the country. They soon marry and live in Kenya, where Robin contracts the disease. Other characters who support the story are Tom Hollander, who plays Diana’s twin brothers. Hugh Bonneville plays Teddy Hall, an inventor who collaborates with Robin on the Cavendish chair, a wheelchair equipped with a respirator that allowed polio victims to live at home instead of at a hospital. Though produced by Robin’s son Jonathan, it never amounted to a stirring film even if its intentions were noble.
REVIEWED ON 12/8/2017 GRADE: C+