Second Best 1994
PG-13 | 1h 45min | Drama | 30 September 1994 (USA)
Graham Holt is a lonely middle-aged man who runs a postal substation in a small village in England. He decides to adopt a son. James is the troubled youth he gets with the assistance of social worker Debbie. James has been in an orphanage for years since his mother committed suicide. He adores his outlaw father John, sent to prison not long after the mother’s death. Can James learn to love Graham? Can Graham settle for being second best?
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements
I rarely write reviews for movies. And having seen the other excellent reviews, mine is hardly needed. But I stumbled across this movie and felt I had to comment on it.
This is an excellent movie with wonderful acting, directing, writing, screen play, and filming. I saw the last 2/3 of the movie by accident and could not tear myself away from it.
William Hurt and the boy actor (sorry – forgot the name) are thrown together by life’s accidents and develop bonds for one another. The rough edges on each character are worn smooth as each accommodates the other and learns of the other’s trials and humanity. The acting is superb and rarely gets in the way of the content – more to the point, the acting complements the story well.
But what makes the movie special is the character development. The writing, directing, and screen play successfully convey the existential experiences of the actors as they develop and react to one another.
A good song, a good poem, a good book – are made special if they are accessible – if they evoke within you the ring of truth and personal history. This movie communicated with me extremely well on a personal basis, on many plans at the same time. Every element of this film was well crafted. The movie is cerebral and touching – with very few rough edges. I couldn’t recommend it more highly for an adult audience.
Director: Chris Menges
Writers: David Cook (novel), David Cook (screenplay)
Stars: William Hurt, Nathan Yapp, Keith Allen
Country: UK | USA
Release Date: 30 September 1994 (USA)
Filming Locations: Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK