An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) Short Review


An Awfully Big Mess… An Awfully Big Downer… An Awfully Big Disappointment… Just Awful.

I watched this one without knowing much about it. It was an Alan Rickman movie that I haven’t seen, though… And it starred Hugh Grant. Both are generally funny . They are at times here, with Rickman mostly providing those laughs. The movie has a number of problems, though.

The story is of a young girl, Stella played by Georgina Cates, that joins a theater company shortly after World War II and develops a crush on the director. So far that sounds kind of sweet, doesn’t it? Until you throw in that, her crush is a mentally unbalanced one, she has issues of abandonment, the director (Hugh Grant) has a thing for underage boys so the fantasy relationship Stella has in mind will never happen, and Rickman, playing an older actor in the troupe, takes advantage of her. That’s not the worst part of this dreary mess. When Rickman’s big secret is revealed it makes you want to run for the shower like that scene in Jagged Edge where Glenn Close realizes she just slept with the killer who she’s been defending the entire movie (sorry if you’ve never seen that one). I won’t say what Rickman’ss relationship is to the girl, but it’s not hard to figure out.

And then it just goes all dreary, if it wasn’t already. It’s not a fun film and worse; it’s not entertaining, even with the talent involved.


After reading the synopsis given, I saw that it professes to be A) a romantic drama and B) a coming of age film. The movie definitely is not a romantic drama. It features a lonely non-worldly girl who is not only seduced by a substantially older man, but engages in sex with him for practice…. Practice… We talkin’ bout…. Practice (I hope you read that in the voice of Alan Iverson). There’s nothing romantic about that. It’s  just sad and unrealistic. This wasn’t played for comedy, which just made this twice as dreary. It also is not a coming of age film. This is more of a continued assault on an emotionally and mentally damaged girl.

The acting is okay, but the film does a disservice by not  firmly putting the film from one point of view. Cates  starts out (and finishes) as the protagonist, but she doesn’t carry the film very well. That’s not her fault as much as the fault of the way that the character is written. She is of the wind blown variety and is naive and out of touch with reality to the point of being self endangering. She’s not that likable, either. Actually, none of these characters are. Rickman’s own personal charm manages to seep out of the character he’s playing, but the character isn’t one that the audience can pull for. That’s not a good thing given the fact that he shows up about a third of the way in and takes over the lead role for a while. For a while, I thought the movie would be about his character, but he doesn’t make it to the end of the film. Then the movie kicks back over to Cates by default.

"Captain Walker?"

I have to question why this was ever written in the first place. It didn’t seem to have a point other than to depress the hell out of the audience. Or at least me. Disappointing.

1.5 of 5


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