Review: Cast breathes life into by-the-book British comedy ‘Finding Your Feet’

Imelda Staunton and Timothy Spall in the movie "Finding Your Feet."
(Roadside Attractions)

“Finding Your Feet” would be facedown on the ground if it didn’t have its well-burnished cast of U.K. acting heavyweights, led by Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie and Joanna Lumley.

Another entry in the fast-spreading genre of pensioners-are-people-too comedies, it finds Staunton’s uptight, upper-crust Sandra in free-fall after discovering her just-knighted, soon-to-retire husband (John Sessions) has been bonking her bestie. Moving in to the multiracial council flat of her free-spirited sister Bif (Imrie), it’s only a matter of screen time before Sandra’s snootiness disappears and she’s dancing at the community center, reconnecting with Bif, and sensing romantic potential in an East London furniture restorer (Spall) who lives on a rickety houseboat.

As hopelessly strained and unfunny as the fish-out-of-water material is in the guess-the-lines-predictable screenplay by Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft, the actors ultimately sell its sentiment, like expert landscapers who can make a homey garden using artificial turf.

And while director Richard Loncraine is mostly on autopilot, he’s smart enough to ensure his camera is ready to capture all of Staunton’s vulnerable fidgetiness, Spall’s micro-gestures, and Imrie’s frisky joie de vivre. It can be easy to dismiss manufactured uplift like “Finding Your Feet” — especially when it introduces terminal illness so opportunistically — but the impulse to treat late-in-life happiness as worthy of on-screen celebration should always be encouraged.



‘Finding Your Feet’

Rating: PG-13, for suggestive material, brief drug use and brief strong language

Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Playing: The Landmark, West L.A.

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