Marketed towards a demographic which is generally referred to as the “Marigold Hotel crowd” and tapping into the growing power of the grey economy, Richard Loncraine’s latest feature film Finding Your Feet offers a charming, if not always perfectly told, story about second chances in life and in love. Staring Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie among other stalwarts of the British film industry, the film provides an escape from the humdrum every day life of most retirees and does a huge job in reconciling its audiences with the possibility that there’s still life after sixty.
When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) discovers that her husband of forty years has been having an extra marital affair with her best friend, she immediately leaves him and her beautiful country pile and takes refuge with her older bohemian sister Bif (Celia Imrie) who lives in a flat on a rundown London council estate.
Going from riches to rags overnight, Sandra is at first left perplexed by the colourful company kept by Bif, but soon learns that if she wants to move on from her former life, she must take a leap of faith into the unknown and challenge her own preconceived opinions about Bif and her friends. As she starts a whirlwind romance with the brilliantly sardonic Charlie (Timothy Spall), Sandra soon starts to see what she has been missing out on all her life. Joining her sister and her lively group of friends as they enter a dance competition which takes them all the way to Italy, Sandra can finally begin to be happy and independent again.
The rest of the story is told through a fairly conventional narrative arc where nothing unexpected happens, if you discount the odd awkward dance move. Staunton et al put in commendable performances in their respective roles, but are at times let down by jarringly stunted dialogue which, in turn, makes their characters less believable.
At over 2 hours, the film suffers greatly from not having a strong enough hook to keep its audience entertaining all the way though. However, if you’re happy to forgo its shortcomings in the storytelling stakes, Finding Your Feet still provides a charming account about love, loss and second chances, and who can ask for more?
With a brilliantly well thought out soundtrack and some wonderfully touching moments between Staunton and Imrie, the film does eventually deliver on its promise by offering up a cast and characters you find yourself wanting to root for, however just don’t expect much more than what is being provided. Not perfect by any stretch, but still worth catching if you find yourself at a loose end.
Finding Your Feet is on general release from Friday 23rd of February.