In this thoughtful exploration of sexuality, creativity, and regret, May and Toots are retired suburban grandparents, clearly disoriented by the frenetic lives their grown children live. When they go to London to visit their son Bobby and their daughter Paula, everyone but Darren, the friendly carpenter working on Bobby's house, seems too busy to notice them. Toots' sudden death before the end of the visit turns May's world upside down, however. She decides to move in with Paula rather than return to the suburbs to face her final years alone. That arrangement suits the self-absorbed Paula just fine, since she envisions May as the answer to her childcare woes. But May didn't flee the suburbs just to replicate her old life somewhere else. Instead she discovers renewed vigor, begins to appreciate art, speaks up where she would normally keep quiet, and follows through on her attraction to the virile Darren, who is 30 years her junior and, as May soon learns, Paula's lover as well. The resulting turmoil is rendered with exceptional skill on all levels, as the film leads us to wonderful and unexpected places. Hanif Kureishi's (My Beautiful Laundrette) spare screenplay focuses on the questions that lie unanswered in all of us, and Roger Michell's (Persuasion, Changing Lanes, and Notting Hill) direction brings them to the surface in charming and surprising ways.
The son of a British diplomat, Roger Michell was born in South Africa and brought up in Beirut, Damascus, and Prague. Following a series of successful theater and television productions, Michell rapidly made his mark as a film director with features including the box office hits Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson, and Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. His BAFTA-winning Persuasion was one of the first of the recent popular Jane Austen adaptations. His previous collaboration with writer Hanif Kureishi and producer Kevin Loader was the award-winning BBC mini-series The Buddha of Suburbia. Michell has also directed the screen adaptation of his own award-winning West End production of My Night with Reg. His stage credits include Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange for the National Theatre. Other credits include the feature film Titanic Town starring Julie Walters, the television film Ready When You Are, Mr. Patel, and the miniseries Downtown Lagos.