Mr Morgan’s Last Love
Director: Sandra Nettleback
Starring: Michael Caine, Michelle Goddet, Jane Alexander
116 mins; Class 12;
KRS Film Releasing
When elderly grieving widower Matthew Morgan (Michael Caine) – an American in Paris – literally bumps into Pauline (Clémence Poésy) on the bus, a friendship is immediately kindled.
The new friendship gives Matthew a new lease of life, following the death three years earlier of his beloved wife Joan (Jane Alexander, making a couple of brief appearances as a vision).
Things get a little complicated after an incident brings Matthew’s estranged son Miles (Justin Kirk) and daughter Karen (Gillian Anderson) to Paris.
Not only do they appears suspicious of this new friendship, but it also brings to the surface old family animosities.
These animosities go a long way in exploring Matthew’s reasons for remaining in Paris, while reopening some pretty deep wounds between him and Miles.
It may be easy to dismiss Mr Morgan’s Last Love as a typical May-December romance but, as Miles himself steadfastly points out at one point, “she is not my girlfriend”.
What it really is, is the tale of an unusual friendship struck between a lonely old man seeking a reason to live and a young woman seeking a friend she can trust and the father figure she never had.
If the familial issues that come to the fore may seem a little familiar and, overall, the final result is a little slight, there is enough warmth and charm to Mr Morgan’s Last Love to carry it along amiably, with a small but excellent cast all of whom shine.
Caine’s accent may be a little dodgy, but there is no denying that the actor, now 81, still has what it takes and he oozes plenty of charisma and lots of genuine feeling in his sad, lonely old man whose eyes and life light up in the presence of his new friend.
Caine’s accent may be a little dodgy, but there is no denying the actor still has what it takes
There is some touching chemistry between him and Poésy (who Harry Potter fans will recognise as Fleur Delacourt in the franchise).
Their relationship combines the right doses of warmth, compassion and humour and never feels inappropriate. Anderson’s role may be fleeting, but it’s good to see the actress, who so often takes on roles of steely, formidable women, tackling something light and as Karen, Matthew’s acerbic daughter, she gets to throw some wonderfully droll lines.
The whole takes place in a picture-perfect Paris, as the prota-gonists walk through the city’s impeccable streets, take lunches in the parks and drive to the country side, and the whole is directed steadily if a little staidly by Nettlebeck.