Review by Geoff Jenke
Starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson, Hampstead is a charming romantic comedy set around the beautiful Hampstead Heath in London, a quiet piece of countryside in a vast metropolis. Living on the edge of the Heath, Emily Walters (Keaton) can’t quite focus on the things that need attention in her life, like her lovely old apartment, her diminishing finances or even her son. Everything changes when she meets the eccentric, unkempt Donald (Gleeson), who has lived harmoniously on the Heath for 17 years in a ramshackle hut. Now, property developers are attempting to evict him. As Emily steps up to defend Donald in the escalating battle, she soon finds that, despite his gruff exterior, there is something special about this gentle and unconventional man.
The movie is inspired by a true story. Hampstead is a warm, funny and life-affirming tale about two very different people who find unexpected love and discover that age is no barrier to second chances.
Diane Keaton has had a long career with romantic comedy and she is wonderful in this movie. Brendon Gleeson (In Bruges, The Guard) is magnificent as a grumpy but loveable hermit living on the Heath.
It is light hearted comedy that doesn’t reach great heights. You could almost call it predictably fluffy and cute; however there are enough charming moments to keep the movie moving along nicely.
Its winter and you could do worse than spend a couple of hours on a cold wet day watching this movie.
To finish, a couple of bits of trivia. The cemetery prominently featured in the movie Hampstead is the final resting place of author Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Gide to the Galaxy), philosopher Karl Marx and singer George Michael. The movie Notting Hill was also shot in and around Hampstead Heath.