Ailing Shakespearean actor Sir Michael Gifford (Brian Cox) is a cantankerous old thing whose perspectives change when he gets a Hungarian girl as his carer, Dorottya Horvath (Coco Kšnig).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A wonderful screenplay full of wit and brimstone drives this - I was going to write charming but it's much tougher than that - emotionally satisfying and dramatically satisfying comedy. The script is given full bodied life by the veteran Brian Cox as Sir Michael Gifford the ageing Shakespearean actor and the thoroughly engaging and fresh young Coco König as Dorottya, his feisty new carer.
Cox delivers his many scintillating lines with a knowing self deprecating wry humour while Kšnig's is a confident, intelligent and memorable performance. Karl Johnson is marvelous as the faithful old chauffeur and gardener and dresser of 40 years service, Joseph, and Emilia Fox makes the most of her role as Sophia, the disapproving sister. Anna Chancellor has a splendid role as housekeeper and secret old flame.
Although superficially perhaps the story line may seem reminiscent of both The Intouchables (2011) and Me Before You (2016), it is not remotely similar.
The best part is the constant little surprises sprinkled through the screenplay and the observant, sensitive direction. The film ends with a glorious theatrical moment, at once melancholy and joyously uplifting.
Review by Louise Keller:
Humour, passion and Shakespeare are the driving forces of this uplifting comedy that explores the barbs of getting old and the rosebuds that keep us young. With its acute observations about human behaviour and responses, the screenplay simply flows, propelled by a fluent and beautiful music score that acts as a nimble current which breezes from one scene to the next. In the role of his career, Brian Cox is magnificent as the ailing actor who finds a new lease of life when a forthright Hungarian would-be actress becomes his carer and he discovers they speak the same language: Shakespeare. The irony of her mispronunciation of the word carer is not lost on us. It's funny, unexpected and profoundly moving.
It is the unconventional nature of the dynamics at the stately castle where Sir Michael Gifford (Cox) lives with his staff that makes the film bristle with life. Sir Michael is not difficult, he is bloody impossible, Joseph (Karl Johnson), the faithful chauffeur of 40 years and former theatrical dresser tells Dorrottya (Coco Konig), as he drives her to the estate for the first time. Emilia Fox is suitably sharp as Sir Michael's brittle daughter, while Anna Chancellor has warmth as the housekeeper and former flame that understands him. Sir Michael and Dorrottya meet in the garden after a mishap with a frog and a rosebush and it is clear from the outset, that Dorrottya has enough spirit to manage and stimulate the ageing actor who uses anger to counter his frustrations of his diminished capabilities. Passionate quotes from Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet and King Lear are juxtaposed by conversations about bowel habits: doublets and hose side by side with adult nappies.
Konig is utterly delightful as the young carer, who brings music, passion and fire into the sedate estate and like Sir Michael: she captivates us. Director János Edelényi manages the storyline's twists and turns perfectly, always bringing the element of surprise. Watch for Cox's unforgettable life-endorsing speech in the final, climactic scene: it alone is worth the price of admission. It is guaranteed to melt a heart of stone.
Email this article
CARER, THE (MA15+)
CAST: Brian Cox, Anna Chancellor, Emilia Fox, Coco König, Karl Johnson, Selina Cadell, Andrew Havill, Roger Moore
PRODUCER: József Berger, Steve Bowden, Charlotte Wontner
DIRECTOR: János Edelényi
SCRIPT: János Edelényi, Gilbert Adair, Tom Kinninmont
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tibor Máthé
EDITOR: Adam Recht
MUSIC: Atti Pacsay
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Janice Flint
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 25, 2016: Regal Twin - Brisbane; Dendy Opera Quays - Sydney; Avoca Beach Cinema - Avoca Beach; Narooma Cinema - Narooma; Classic Cinema - Melbourne; Sun Theatre - Melbourne; Cameo; Belgrave - Melbourne; Waverley Pinewood Cinema - Melbourne; Lido Cinema - Melbourne; Mornington Cinema - Mornington; Astor Cinema Ararat; Pivotonian Cinema Geelong; State Cinema - Hobart; Trak Cinema - Adelaide; Luna Paradiso - Perth; Luna SX - Freemantle