Star Rating:

Finding Your Feet

Director: Richard Loncraine

Actors: Imelda Staunton

Release Date: Friday 23rd February 2018

Genre(s): Drama, Factual

Running time: 111 minutes

Imelda Staunton is a socialite happily married to John Sessions, but during his retirement party she finds him in garage with supposed best friend Josie Lawrence. Angry, she leaves and bunks up with her bohemian sister Celia Imrie, who lives on a rundown council estate. Her snobbish nature doesn't bother the good-natured Imrie, who encourages her to join a dancing class, which Staunton had once imagined as a career before she got married. It's there she runs into Timothy Spall's barge-dwelling handyman…

Finding Your Feet plays like A Streetcar Named Desire filtered rewritten by Richard Curtis. Director Richard Loncraine has been knocking about for a while (his most notable outings are The Missionary, Wimbledon and the Ian McKellan-starring update of Richard III) and he plays it safe here, making the film as predictable as it is inoffensive. There is serious stuff to be found (the discovery of the affair, and other developments that can't be discussed for fear of spoilers) but all are questionably played for laughs, mindful of not to being too sombre for its audience, an audience that thought while 45 Years was great it was a bit too depressing. Loncraine steers his drama more towards Exotic Marigold Hotel territory.

And if that’s what Loncraine is after he sure delivers. Finding Your Feet is a pleasant viewing and will delight those looking for another knockabout rom-com boasting OAPs. It's fun spending time with these characters and watching them change as the story progresses. Staunton’s snob (hilariously described as Lady Nevershit at one point) is arguably the only character that experiences real change but it’s the subplots involving Imrie and Spall that make the film dance. Spall is married but his wife has dementia and doesn’t even recognise him anymore but this doesn’t alleviate the guilt when he begins to fall for Staunton. And Imrie? Well, it’s her story that has more meat on its bones than Staunton’s.

Usually relegated to smaller roles that whizz by unnoticed (Christopher Lambert's first wife in Highlander, a pilot in Phantom Menace) but here she holds court despite Staunton’s leading role. The story keeps finding its way back to her, as if Loncraine realises this is where the magic is, and Imrie has a ball with her character, fleshing out bits here and there that hint at a life beyond the screen; at one point she shares a joint with Spall, and we get the feeling it’s not the first time.