In An Awfully Big Adventure, Hugh Grant again works with Director Mike Newell, portraying Meredith Potter, an individual whose charming facade belies a chilly interior. The character of Potter is a drastic departure from the role that made Grant famous (Charles, the bewildered romantic who captures the heart of Carrie in Four Weddings and a Funeral). While the character of Potter may be more successful and efficient at capturing his heart's desire, his heart is cold and he proves equally adept at destroying those who grow to love him.
While Grant may be the chief draw in bringing people to the theatre, it is Georgina Cates, as Stella, who will earn the most praise. Her performance as the film's central character is thoroughly convincing and Stella's naivete and innocence is something you will with to protect and preserve. Just like in real life, there are characters in the film whose actions elevate and affirm her, and there are those who manipulate and debase. Never are these actions more clearly noticed than when used against an innocent.
The movie is on the novel written by Beryl Bainbridge and depicts her own experience working in a Liverpool theatre as a young girl.
Alan Rickman (Truly, Madly, Deeply) plays the well-respected actor P.L. O'Hara, who has a guilty past; which he revisits painfully through Stella.
An Awfully Big Adventure was an awfully big surprise to me. Like the The Unbearable Lightness of Being, I wrongfully concluded that the story would be lighthearted and cheery. This is no such film and the character of Stella and P.L. will weigh heavy on you mind long after you leave the theatre.
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