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by Tony Roma
posted 14/02/2018

‘Finding Your Feet’ Film Review

Finding Your Feet Exclusive Eastside Screening

Reviewed by John Brewer

Eastside Radio 89.7 FM hosted its Supporters on Monday night 29 January 2018 to a free viewing of the new movie ‘Finding Your Feet’ at the Chauvel Theatre (owned by Palace Cinemas) in Paddington and a glass of wine.

‘Finding Your Feet’ is a heartwarming comedy-drama directed by Richard Loncraine from an original screenplay by Nick Moorcroft and Meg Leonard. It has received critical acclaim, opening the 35th Torino Film Festival in December 2017 and being named as one of the ‘best of the fest’ at the 29th Palm Springs International Film Festival on January 6th, 2018.

Richard Loncraine has a long history of successful film directing, but is perhaps best known for his film ‘Richard III’ (1995) which won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival, and ‘My House in Umbria’ (2003).

The film starred Imelda Staunton as Sandra, a wife struggling to redefine her life after breaking up with her wealthy and influential husband of 40 years. After living in a grand mansion with her husband, she suddenly shares a Council flat with her (partly estranged) sister Bif (played by Celia Imrie). Sandra starts to build a new life. Her fun-loving sister gradually shows her how to throw off her former snobbish ways and embrace a more fun-loving existence with Bif’s dancing friends. These are all free spirits, outwardly happy with their lot but with each in their own way coping with loneliness, loss and life’s vicissitudes. Joanna Lumley as Jackie plays that classic English character we know so well from her appearances in features including ‘The Cat’s Meow’ and ‘Ab Fab’.

When Sandra decides to accept her husband’s invitation to get back together, she quickly finds that she has changed so much into a happy-go-lucky individual that she can no longer remain in such a stuffy marriage. The movie ends with her running off for a life of adventure along the canals of Europe on the barge of newfound friend Charlie (Timothy Spall).

The director skilfully uses a range of sets to frame the characters. Sandra’s spacious, period home full of designer furnishings and tasteful bric a brac contrasts with Bif’s cramped and idiosyncratically furnished flat, and highlights the differences between the two sisters. Scenes shot on location in pubs and parks provide stepping stones to show Sandra’s life rapidly evolving after her marriage breakdown.

We travelled through a wide range of emotions with Sandra and the gang – sadness at the breakup, initial rejection of the new group of friends, unease with a partly estranged sister as a renewed relationship begins to emerge, shock and dejection at the sister’s sudden and unexpected death, discomfort in the renewed interactions with her snobby husband and his friends and finally excitement after her decision to rush away to a fresh, new and uncertain life on the barge with Charley.

We see Sandra enter and become part of the world of uninhibited popular dancing with Bif’s carefree friends, culminating in an extravagant and spectacular dance sequence in which they amaze everyone, even themselves. We enjoy the soundtrack of their lives as they relive their youth to the music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in a generous film that is ultimately as comforting as an old pair of slippers.

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