Friday, September 22, 2017


The real-life story of a homeless man who built a shack on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath is scrubbed down, disinfected and prettified for mass consumption.
Diane Keaton plays beret wearing widow Emily, who is struggling to meet the service charges on her portered apartment block. Naturally, having experienced the sharp edge of London’s chronic housing issues, she feels a kinship with Donald (Brendan Gleeson, gruff but cuddly), a tramp who has created an immaculately tended smallholding in the grounds of a disused hospital. 
This bond boils over into a relationship, once the film has addressed the subject of personal hygiene, the slightly niffy elephant in the room. Emily concedes that Donald is cleaner than she expected. In response, he offers her his armpit to sniff. It passes muster.
A score that sounds like it was ripped from a feature-length insurance ad twinkles reassuringly throughout. And the production design pushes an artfully homespun aesthetic so expensive-looking, it’s as if the film is unfolding in a Chelsea bric-a-brac emporium.

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