Cert 15 108mins Stars 2
This is an extraordinarily clumsy and unsatisfactory adaptation of Julian Barnes’ award winning novel.
His masterful meditation on memory is marred by commercially driven creative choices. The bolted on subplots and and note of redemption lack the economical elegance of the source material.
Jim Broadbent essays an expert character study as an insensitive bore, Tony Webster. Being bequeathed a diary leads Tony to being reacquainted with his first love, causing him to reevaluate his life.
Among the powerful supporting cast of Charlotte Rampling, Emily Mortimer and Matthew Goode, Harriet Walter shines as Tony’s waspish ex wife.
Casting the blameless Michelle Dockery is a reasonably judged attempt to attract a crowd who know her as Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary.
But her invented-for-the-film escapades as Webster’s pregnant daughter reduces the source material to a rambling romcom. At its worst this resembles Bridget Jones’ Baby, from the point of view of Bridget’s dad, without the laughs.