Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fluorescerama: 84 Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road (1987) is the first of many delightful movies I'll recommend in this blog. The book by Helene Hanff is based on her real-life correspondence with the workers at a shop of rare and collectible books in England. The twenty year friendship that developed between Hanff, a high-spirited New Yorker (and avid reader), and Frank Doel, the chief buyer at Marks & Co is as sweet and poignant as any cinematic romance. There is much to recommend this film. Anne Bancroft, best known for her iconic role as the seductive Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, lights up the screen as the irrepressibly inspired Hanff. Her character has a humor and candor that makes her instantly likeable, and the intimacy of her correspondence is like receiving a note from an old friend. Frank Doel and his wife are played by two of the best British actors, Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench. Anthony Hopkins is no stranger to characters of few words, and, as always, his greatness lies in his restraint. As such, the gabby New Yorker and the reserved Brit should be polar opposites, yet their eventual connection seems so natural. It's no surprise that this bittersweet story has resonated with many viewers and readers. I have yet to read the book, but I assume that it's every bit as charming as the movie. [Wikipedia]

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