A feel-good British comedy in the vein of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the new film Finding Your Feet finds its own feet by presenting light and engaging fare employing veteran English actors in ways we rarely get to see them on the big screen. As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), in these dark times this is the kind of hopeful, mature entertainment that just might drag older adult audiences out to the movies.
Exotic Marigold Hotel and its 2015 sequel proved there was a sizable worldwide crowd out there craving this kind of thing, and though it breaks no new ground, this Richard Loncraine-directed piece fits the bill nicely and gives the wondrous Imelda Staunton a lovely leading role in which she proves again her mettle as one of our best.
Here she plays Lady Sandra Abbott, who, after 40 years of marriage and dutifully standing behind her upper-crust statesman hubby (John Sessions), discovers he has been cheating on her with her best friend (Josie Lawrence). Moving out and moving on, she heads to impoverished flat of her older sister Bif (Celia Imrie), a sibling she hasn’t had anything to do with in about a decade. As repressed as Sandra has become, Bif is the polar opposite and tries to brighten things up by getting her out to her dance class for seniors.
There she meets Charlie (Timothy Spall), taking the class to get some free time from caring for his gravely ill wife. He has had to sell their home and move into a houseboat in order to pay for her care. There’s also his good friend Ted (David Hayman), a recent widower who’s now stepping out, literally, and the outrageous Jackie (Joanna Lumley). Although reluctant at first, Sandra soon gets into the swing of things, even traveling to Italy with the troupe after a charity performance in Piccadilly goes viral and they are invited to dance in Rome.
Loncraine — who knows his way around working with veterans, as he proved recently in the underrated Five Flights Up with Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman — turns Finding Your Feet into a bit of a travelogue at this point, making sure to include sightseeing in addition to the dance routines.
Things get complicated for Sandra when hubby comes crawling back, but the resolution should please viewers looking for uplifting entertainment. As the title indicates, this easy-to-take charmer is all about finding self-worth and a renewed sense of life at your darkest hour.
The cast, as you might expect, is simply first-rate, led by the luminous Staunton. Spall and Hayman add just the right touches to their aging characters who aren’t ready to call it a day quite yet, no matter what life is tossing them. Lumley and Imrie light things up in a terrific ensemble with all the right moves. Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft’s script plays things by the numbers structurally but gives each character their own distinct personality, which is all you can hope for from a winning commercial effort like this one. They also produced along with Andrew Berg, John Sachs, James Spring and Charlotte Walls. Roadside Attractions is putting it into limited release Friday.
Do you plan to see Finding Your Feet? Let us know what you think.