Saturday, February 03, 2007


New from The Movie Snob

Venus (B-). Veteran actor Peter O'Toole stars in this little movie in which he plays a veteran actor named Maurice Russell. Long divorced and suffering from an ailing prostate, Maurice lives alone in a small apartment, takes the occasional small acting job, and hangs out with his friend Ian, another aging actor. A spark is introduced into his life in the form of 20-year-old Jessie, Ian's attractive but surly and uncultured great-niece who moves to London to help him with cooking and errands. The relationship between Maurice and Jessie, whom he nicknames Venus, is the heart of the movie. O'Toole's best-actor Oscar nomination is probably deserved, but the film is not entirely convincing. For one, O'Toole is pretty scary-looking -- he's tall and gaunt, grey-skinned and cadaverous. It doesn't help that his face is frequently shown in half-shadow. Jessie's fondness for Maurice seems a little unearned; he can be charming, but he's an unapologetic hedonist and just not a particularly admirable man. Still and all, Venus is not a bad movie, and it takes a pretty honest look at old age and death, which are subjects Hollywood seldom takes on. Worth watching.


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