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Felicia's Journey

Starring Bob Hoskins and Elaine Cassidy
Based on a novel by William Trevor
Written and Directed by Atom Egoyan

IN SHORT: For the arthouse and Egoyan aficionados. [Rated [R], 115 minutes]

Essentially a 2 person drama, Felicia's Journey presents Cranky with a phenomenal problem, that being what to tell you without spilling the beans. Which is almost impossible, 'cuz this flick is a very well acted, one bean soup.

Felicia (Elaine Cassidy) has come to England in search of her, for want of a better word, boyfriend John. She's Irish. He's British and, in this story set in an unspecified time frame (everything in Britain looks 50s-ish but, based on the politics of the situation, I'm guessing that this story could exist anywhere's up to the early 90s.), has left Felicia up the proverbial creek. Quite at random, she meets a 50something catering manager named Joey Hilditch (Bob Hoskins). Once upon a time he was a cute little chubby, a fixture on his mother's TV program (she being a French chef named "Gala"). Joey is as stocky as an adult as he was a pudgy li'l kidlet. An expert cook, he prepares lavish dinner meals in his kitchen, while watching videotapes of his mom's programs. Yep, there's a bit of a mom-son thing there, more gristle for you to chew on when you debate and discuss this flick after it's done.

Hilditch is a gentle man prone to speak in platitudes, beloved and/or feared by his employees who seek only to please his discriminating palate. Befriending the naive, to say the least, Felicia, Hilditch promises to use all his resources as an executive to help track down her guy. Hilditch is gently ingratiating, helping the girl find a bed and breakfast to stay in while she searches, and offering a ride to a distant location where the boy may be working. It is also, coincidentally, the location of a hospital where his wife, Ada, is ailing.

Except that there is no wife. There is a video camera hidden in the car. And Hilditch has made this trip many times before, with girls named Beth, Elsie, Sharon, Gay, Bobbie, Jackie and Samantha. Guess what Hilditch is . . .

OK, that should be tempting enough. But I apologize if I've spilled too much -- you'll know what I mean if you see the flick. Most of the time, you get a main story and at least one, sometimes two, substories to keep everything popping. That's not what Atom Egoyan has done here. There is one and only one story. Hoskins gives a phenomenal performance and [] holds her own against the actor. Every once in a while there is a subtle change in the lighting that literally shouts at the viewer. That's all.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Felicia's Journey, he would have paid...


Actors I've talked with rave, literally, about working for Atom Egoyan. As much as I'm a fan of Bob Hoskins (yeah, yeah he did Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but if you've never seen Mona Lisa, do) the story is just too small (to my taste) for the big screen.

Click to buy films by Atom Egoyan
Click to buy films starring Bob Hoskins

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