Second Chances

27 01 2009

last-chance-harvey-poster

“Last Chance Harvey” 2009

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Kathy Baker, James Brolin

Last Chance Harvey could easily have been a fable warning viewers of the risks of choosing work over family, solitude over companionship. The moral of this story is always the same. Prioritize your career above your personal relationships, and you will wind up alone.

Luckily, the film is not a cautionary tale but a hopeful one. It is never too late, it seems to say, to forge new connections or to repair those that you have damaged.

Despite the title, I’m not convinced that the relationship between Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) and Kate (Emma Thompson) represents his last chance for love. It is simply a connection that he chooses to pursue, rather than sacrifice. The relationship is not different because she is more worthy of his love than Harvey’s former wife, or because Kate and Harvey make a more compatible couple. (In fact, both women seem equally incompatible with a man like Harvey). It is different simply because he chooses for it to be different. And opening the door to a new possibility for love succeeds in restoring the confidence Harvey needs to mend the old relationships that suffered as a result of his insecurity and self-absorption.

♦♦½

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