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» » Ужасно большое приключение (1995)

Short summary

Set right after World War II, a naive teenage girl joins a shabby theatre troupe in Liverpool. During a winter production of Peter Pan, the play quickly turns into a dark metaphor for youth... See full summary
Set right after World War II, a naive teenage girl joins a shabby theatre troupe in Liverpool. During a winter production of Peter Pan, the play quickly turns into a dark metaphor for youth as she becomes drawn into a web of sexual politics and intrigue.

Trailers "Ужасно большое приключение (1995)"

Alan Rickman was reportedly upset to find out that Georgina Cates had lied about her age (she was in her early 20's but stated she was only, indeed, 16) in order to land the role of Stella. He had gone out of his way to be extremely gentle around her during their intimate scenes because of her perceived age.

Georgina Cates had unsuccessfully auditioned for the part of Stella under her real name of Clare Woodgate. Frustrated, she dyed her hair, reinvented herself as a 16-year-old Liverpool girl called "Georgina Cates", and landed the role.

The picture was "filmed on location in Dublin, Ireland" according to the movie's closing credits.

The playhouse seen in the picture was actually the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

The film was made and released about six years after its source novel of the same name by Beryl Bainbridge had been first published in 1989.

The film's source 1989 novel of the same name written by authoress Beryl Bainbridge was shortlisted for Booker Prize in 1990.

The name of the stage play that the local amateur theatre players were producing a production of was "Peter Pan" by J.M. Barrie.

Third and final [to date, July 2015] theatrical feature filmed version of a Beryl Bainbridge story after Sweet William (1980) and The Dressmaker (1988).

This motion picture's opening title card reads: "Liverpool, England: 1941".

The movie's closing credits declare that "this film was made possible by incentives provided for the film industry by the Government of Ireland".

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Hawk Flying
    The real hub around which this movie moves is not Hugh Grant or Alan Rickman but Georgina Cates as Stella, an unpaid sixteen year old student who is not only stagestruck but enamored of Meredith Potter (Hugh Grant), the cruel and thoughtless director who is more interested in boys.

    Stella, ignorant of most of life, is unaware of his predilictions and so ill-informed she is afraid she might have a venereal disease from touching a man with her hand. Having been abandoned by her mother (who is the voice on the phone giving the time), she is being raised by her aunt and uncle, well-meaning people who love her but have no idea of what to do with her or tell her. Eventually she is seduced by P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman), who has come to Liverpool to play Captain Hook but also to once again look for the woman who bore him a child many years before. He imagines he has a son and that belief allows him to continue, despite his lack of self worth.

    He eventually succumbs to his own predilictions when he pursues Stella. She, having no idea of sex other than as something to be done to her, is a slow learner but eventually says that like "learning a ukelele, it takes practice." The Grant character is so thoroughly despicable it proves once and for all that Hugh Grant can, in fact, act. Rickman gives a well done, mostly underplayed performance, not even having a line in the first four scenes he is in. Georgina Cates is the real jewel here, with a combination of naivete and boldness, along with a girlish charm which makes Stella believable as well as pathetic. Not the greatest movie made but a well done, well cast piece of work by professionals with a sense of purpose. See it! But not for the children.
  • comment
    • Author: Eng.Men
    "An Awfully Big Adventure" is a story of a naive 16 year old girl, wonderfully played by Georgiana Cates, and her interaction with the members of a bottom-of-the-line stock company in 1947 Liverpool. The Liverpool actors are lead by an incredibly nasty, chain-smoking homosexual director, played by Hugh Grant in what may have been the best performance of his career. Their star, "Perhaps the best Captain Hook ever," is played by Alan Rickman in yet another stellar performance. This is a consistently entertaining but very, very cynical coming of age story. Thus, it may not be for all tastes. Nevertheless, I recommended it highly, 8 out of 10.
  • comment
    • Author: the monster
    A bitter-sweet film with comic moments, especially the amazing performance by Hugh Grant. I missed a few priceless quips because I couldn't quite get the meaning because of the dialect, but a replay solved that problem. Georgina Cates was so beguiling and wistful in her role. I hope to see more of her. And what a treat to see Rita Rushingham if only in an underwritten, restrained part. Alan Rickman tortured response to the twist (twisted?) event which occurs in the film was difficult to watch. What a brilliant, subtle, internalized reaction in the living room of Stella's uncle -a fine piece of acting!

    This is a must for Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman fans!
  • comment
    • Author: romrom
    The likely reason people don't like this film is because it was released by Miramax who are infamous for mis-marketing their tough sell pictures ("Muriel's Wedding" was a feel good, laugh a minute romantic comedy? "Captives" was a thriller!). This movie isn't a sweet coming of age story. It's a devastating account of a young woman's loss of innocence in a cruel world.

    I tend to really like the movies most people find too depressing. Like the ancient Greeks I find human tragedy the greatest form of emotional catharsis. If you are the same way I recommend this film highly.
  • comment
    • Author: WUNDERKIND
    Shame on all of those who gave most of the plot away. This is a worthwhile film, one I have seen at least twice and will watch any time it is on. True, I am a fan of Alan Rickman, but it goes beyond that. As a slice of British theatre life it is up there with "The Dresser" and is about as depressing. A romp it is not, but so what? Was it marketed badly? Yes, perhaps. But it is well acted, tightly directed and even fun to watch at times. It doesn't end well, but as Brad Pitt said in character in "The Devil's Own" ... "this isn't an American story." Hooray for that.

    As a character study of several people, it is about as good as it gets, although I might want a little more depth, especially on Rickman's character. He is gentlemen enough to be destroyed by what he does in the end and it enobles his character. I enjoyed watching Hugh Grant, who is a delightful man in person and not quite the twit he often plays, cast against type as a nasty, bitchy queen. Yeah, he can act. So what if they pay him a lot of money to be himself, more or less, most of the time? When pressed, he can deliver.

    If you like Grant and Rickman, you can't go wrong. If you like dark stories of behind-the-scenes theatre life, this is a good 'un for you. And young Ms. Cates, married to Skeet Ulrich gives a great performance, even if she had to lie her way into the part.
  • comment
    • Author: Gelgen
    Young stage-struck Stella (Georgina Cates) has bright dyed red hair and lives with her aunt and uncle (Rita Tushingham and Alun Armstrong, both very good) in run-down Liverpool. She joins a theatre group where she isn't required to do very much and develops a crush on vain director Meredith (Hugh Grant, better than usual) and a half-contempt for the other members of the company (including a wicked parody of the professional ham from Edward Petherbridge). When flamboyant actor PL O'Hara (Alan Rickman, excellent) arrives to play Captain Hook in a new production of Peter Pan, his fate becomes entangled with Stella's in a way neither of them could have predicted. This movie veers from a sharp set of character studies of provincial theatre to a weird and twisted love story with a tragic resolution. Aside from the main story, there are two lovely support roles for Prunella Scales and Peter Firth. The one problem in the cast is Cates, whose background was in TV sitcom and it shows.
  • comment
    • Author: Gholbithris
    I liked the film and, though I'm sure there were countless other ways that they could've still retained its twisted plot in a more concise way, I enjoyed the uniqueness of its story. It was certainly a sad story and it did catch me by surprise. Alan Rickman was terrific, but I wish I could've seen more of his character because for the amount of time he's in the film it simply wasn't enough, especially since he appeared to be a main character. However, it was entertaining and I really liked it and its originality.
  • comment
    • Author: Fani
    Even as a genre (black humor), this movie comes off with only two stars. Incest is never funny, is I guess my reasoning. Also, the film is confusing. It may take several viewings to fully understand and appreciate the action. A note: I've seen it on tape and on cable TV, and for some reason, every time, the sound has been so bad, much of the dialogue is unintelligible.

    In spite of all that, if you have any interest at all in any member of the cast, or in postwar British theater, or just in the theater in general, you should see it.

    Basically every performance in this movie is brilliant, especially Alan Rickman, Peter Firth, Georgina Cates and, my favorite actor, Hugh Grant.

    This film is a must see for anyone who thinks Mr. Grant is a "wooden" actor, or always plays a "hesitant Englishman" (A ridiculous charge made by people who have seen only a fraction of his acting output).
  • comment
    • Author: Dancing Lion
    Well, this movie has definitely changed my views on Alan Rickman. He just blew my mind with his passionate performance...there isn't another to explain it.

    Now the plot was very complex so you did need to see it more than once to get the gist of every little twist. I'll tell you there are allot of twists in this movie. But thats what makes it a must see.

    I recommend this movie to anyone thats in need of a good slap in the face. I know that I sure did.
  • comment
    • Author: Ffel
    This has long been one of my favourite films, not least because of its unusual storyline. It gives us a window into the depressing life of the provinces in post World War II England, and also into the life of actors working in the British Repertory system - the youthful enthusiasm of the youngsters, and the frustrations and petty jealousies of the older troupers, long past their prime, if they ever had one.

    Georgina Cates is superb as the determined Stella, always playing a part whether on-stage or off. She's naive, but ready to do whatever it's going to take to get her foot in the door of the theatrical world. There's a ruthless quality underneath the wide-eyed innocent - she will probably never know that her first lover was actually her father, but if she ever learned the truth, she would probably milk it for all she could.

    Hugh Grant is quite repulsive as the predatory Meredith, giving us a rare view of him before he was discovered as the quintessential British sex symbol. It's a fine performance, and he gives much more than he does in most of his later roles where he is required to do little more than be charming, amusing, and sexy.

    And there's Alan Rickman, strong and commanding as always. A shame that he only comes in half-way through, but well worth the wait. His love scenes with Stella were tender and sad - the older man trying to recapture the lost love of his youth, and coming far closer than he realised. The scene when he learned just what he'd done was perfectly played - tragic without ever falling over into melodrama. And as an aside, what a brilliant Captain Hook he'd have made!

    There was generally good work from the supporting cast, particularly from Prunella Scales as the cynical but not unkind theatre manager, and the wonderful Alun Armstrong as Stella's uncle Vernon. A man of simple philosophy, but not as dense as people like Meredith might think. It's not beyond possibility that his character would have eventually arrived at the truth by himself. He'd be shocked, but I think not surprised, and would take it on board as one of life's strange ironies, without ever quite understanding just how it tore P.L. apart.

    Some people have found the incest to be distasteful and are put off the film because of it, but it was a tragedy of Greek proportions, a twist of fate for which nobody was responsible, and the protagonists were more to be pitied than reviled. It was handled superbly well, and at the end I felt only sadness for P.L. O'Hara. Stella would survive and go on, no matter what; she would need no-one to weep for her.
  • comment
    • Author: Efmprof
    I particulary enjoyed this film. I thought Hugh Grant did a great and decidedly out-of-turn portrayal of the deviant Meredith. Alan Rickman looked so cool on that motorcycle it wasn't even funny. The lighting in this film was excellent, and it's portrayal of petty theatre politics was pretty accurate even by modern standards. Georgina Cates was a wonderful Stella and the plot was well-developed. It seems as though most English adaptations of books tend to be better cinematically than original American films. Go figure.
  • comment
    • Author: Dangerous
    I've been curious about this movie for a long time. I finally saw it on IFC.

    It was great! In this age of VERY expensive, predictable, committee-approved "art", I was relieved to watch this story unfold. Although I suspected early on about the relationship between Cates and Rickman's characters, it's execution was much better than the usual pap that pretends to be a surprise or twist.

    Or even interesting.

    The real twists in this story, was its own mirror of the real human forces and decisions that keep some of the sweetest, and unfortunately, worst stories going on. The twists were the tiny reasons why such things, sometimes painful and abhorrent to our collective cultural sense of what's right and decent in a society, to continue within it.

    The hypocrisy of denying that these dark parts of ourselves exist often cause them to continue. Often times, the self-appointed moral-police of our culture make this inevitable in their pursuit of human frailty, the aftermath of its hunt, and the white-washing of the events (and non-events) they discovered.

    No character represented total evil, good, decadence or purity, including Stella. She had as much (subtle) emotional weaponry with her, as she had emotional scars.

    Many Americans don't like, or have been trained (over time) to not have patience for such imperfect main-characters in fiction anymore. The one-dimensional, mass-marketed character, is the norm here now.

    That's sad. Because of that, this movie (and others like it) didn't do very well here.

    Having this story take place within the entertainment industry is an excellent way of displaying so much of the world's human tragedy AND stupidity being covered up by some people's treachery, some people's nobility, or a combination of both.

    And even at the end of this tale, all of the stage crew, like life itself, executed their own particular versions of the adage, "The show must go on."

    No perfect hollywood story here, with it's base and stupid doling out of come-uppance of everyone's flaws...or Evil.
  • comment
    • Author: Zargelynd
    This movie does brilliantly what films can do so well when properly conceived and executed: tell a story that is original, moving, believable, even familiar and personal to the audience in some deep ways, and also take us to a new place, show us people and a world we haven't often (or ever) seen before; and on top of that, entertain, delight, and engage our hearts throughout. Don't miss this! Beautifully acted, directed, shot. It's true to life, hilarious, romantic, tragic, unexpected........................
  • comment
    • Author: Lynnak
    A comedy, this is NOT!!!! Not unless you call alcoholism, incest and sexual harassment funny!!! Both Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant do extremely good jobs portraying the powerful who prey on the young and innocent. This girl, however, happens to be practically psycho from the abandonment she suffered as a child, talking into a telephone with no one but the recorded time on the other end of the line.

    The sad lives of roving actors in repertory companies of the 40s-50s is heart-rendingly portrayed by some pretty good actors. I have no idea how it was rated, but its subject matter is so unusual, the photography so striking, that I highly recommend it. If you are a Hugh Grant as ladies' man fan, this may put you off. If you are an Alan Rickman fan, you'll love the sex scenes....even if you're shocked later.

    If you have any children whom you DO NOT want to go into acting, see this one with them. I loved the shots of Dublin, where it was filmed...even though it's set in Liverpool. Be prepared to be puzzled first time through. It took me two showings to figure it out.
  • comment
    • Author: Whitehammer
    A coming-of-age story -- for once, about a girl rather than the usual run of little men. Stella is just turned sixteen and has joined the backstage crew of a small theatre company in post-war Liverpool. Her sadness and loneliness lead her to imaginary phone calls with the mother she's lost, a longing for the father she doesn't know, and longing for love. She's flawed, spirited, growing and changing. She goes through all the difficulties of a teenage girl encountering teenage boys, falling into infatuations, and looking for some adult to pattern her life on or the guidance to make her own way....

    It's a wonderful film until it takes a peculiar turn and becomes more the story of Alan Rickman's character, the talented but unbalanced character actor brought in to take on the role of Captain Hook in "Peter Pan." The first two thirds of the film are highly recommended; the ending simply leaves me disturbed -- but whenever I have a chance to see the movie again, it's hard to resist. Georgina Cates does a fine job, Alan Rickman is in good form; Hugh Grant is fine in his role, but his role was less significant than I expected -- his character is mainly important in how Stella sees him and in how it affects her passage into emotional adulthood. Stella's passage into sexual adulthood is the most distressing turn of all, and leaves me wondering whether I can like a film that makes this choice (and shifts its focus from the young woman who was at its center to the adult man who doesn't appear until midway through).
  • comment
    • Author: Brol
    That's how you should look at it. TBH I skipped a lot of scenes because I was looking forward to Alan Rickman and I couldn't bear listening to the dialogue, it was hard to understand their accent, and somehow the feeling was weird. However, I gotta say this movie has a lot of symbolism, as someone put it perfectly on a comment in youtube, of how Potter is Peter Pan who seduces lost boys, of Stella as Wendy who sadly escapes her childhood in a very very twisted way and O'Hara as Captain Hook whose actor usually play both Captain Hook and Wendy's father.

    I have never been a fan of Peter Pan, that thing is just so creepy and it annoys me the idea of that selfish little pretty boy. This movie annoys me as well, the feeling is too personal it's almost weird to see those ugly things reenacted on screen. Not a lot of people get the deeper layer of meaning of this movie if they don't see the relationship between the play and the movie itself. I would not like to see O'Hara as a child molester even though he seems to be. The dark side of the industry I believe. Girls are expected to be slutty very, very soon; and though it's kind of disgusting O'Hara took her but he had a reason indeed, and that reason turned out quite nasty later on. Very, very sad indeed.

    I'm quite confused when it comes to talk about rating this movie. It is terrific, but it's too dark, too angst, too depressed - not that these qualities mean it's bad like a lot of usual audiences would think - I think usually people expect the light at the end of the tunnel, but with all respect to reality and in connection with Peter Pan, sorry Wendy has to grow up. And life can be quite nastier than you think.

    It is just, very depressing. But still a deep and high quality movie. But controversial, indeed.
  • comment
    • Author: Rollers from Abdun
    What a strange title to give a film about some of the ugliest characters you'll ever come across. This film could have been put out by those who felt for centuries that "theater folk" are people to stay FAR away from - their nasty name-calling, their preying on the young, their perversions, their plain meanness - can't be rubbed away as easily as the darkness drawn by any numbered make-up.

    Whew, what an ugly UGLY group of people. I shivered. You'll want a bath after this one.

    The acting, sets, costumes were first rate - particularly Nicola Pagett, Hugh Grant, Alun Armstrong, Peter Firth, and the girl playing the lead (whose name now escapes me). It was wonderful to see Pagett in a film again (she was superb not only in Upstairs Downstairs but as the greatest Anna Karenina yet seen in the 10 hour series). I was also pleased to see Rita Tushingham in too small a part as the aunt.

    If you like watching bullies gather together in playgrounds to attack, kick, and tear apart the clothes, confidence, limbs and self-esteem of the smallest and youngest, you may however find this appealing. For me, this is one of the darkest and most depressing films I've ever seen.
  • comment
    • Author: Felhann
    Have you ever noticed that we tend to be harder on the movies that disappoint us, rather than the ones we approach with lowered expectations? That's what happened here.

    First of all, I wouldn't have seen this at all if I hadn't been seduced by the deceptive PR. Promise one thing and deliver another. I thought it was kind of mean to get lure me into the theater with the promise of something more lighthearted. The worst part? I went with my parents. Yeah, thanks so much. I really want to see a movie about incest when I'm sitting with my Mom and Dad.

    The characters were unappetizing and nasty. The resolution was the downer of all time. Frankly, I hate stories that seem to take a perverse pleasure in ending with the Worst Case Scenario. Truthfully, it was in its own way, an unrealistic cop-out. Why do movie makers always seem to think it's more meaningful and dramatic to kill off characters, rather than confront their conflicts in a more creative way? They ought to post labels on movies such as this...something like "WARNING: Nasty characters, Over-the-top-Greek-Tragedy-Climax! You'll leave the theater wanting to drive off the nearest pier, yourself!"
  • comment
    • Author: Lesesshe
    I remember going to see An Awfully Big Adventure. It's an experience that has remained with me ever since, because it is so horrifyingly awful.

    Possibly intended as some whimsical and poignant look at the theatre of yesteryear, this is a film that fails to engage on any level. Believe me, I'm as much up for a piece of heavy cinema as the next arthouse fancier, but this really is pushing the levels of patience. As one of my (usually well-behaved) friends said, 'When will this dirge end?'. The problem is that nothing happens. And by the time it does, you've lost all interest, and possibly the will to live. In one of the film's final moments there's a scene (I won't divulge, although please don't take this as an encouragement to see the thing) which is clearly meant to be shocking and emotional. It isn't. Because by that stage of utter audience despair, it could only mean one thing - that it must be nearly over. People have tried for some time to name things that I would less like to do than watch An Awfully Big Adventure (or AABA as I now know it, to limit the horror of reliving the moment) again. Nobody has yet come up with anything. Don't make the same mistake I did. Avoid
  • comment
    • Author: Haralem
    This movie contains excellent acting, a surfeit of creativity, lovely costumes and visuals, and is, without question, the single most depressing movie I have ever seen. One should be wary of expectations when viewing a movie, but the title, the casting, and the advertisements gave the impression the viewer was going to see a lighthearted English period piece.

    Instead it gives a relentlessly bleak view of humanity, then blind sides the viewer with a plot development that is so horrifying as to defy description. When I read other reviews talk about the different aspects of the movie I wanted to scream "So what?!". One plot development overpowers the rest of the movie like a gunshot to the gut cancels perception of a hangnail, making the rest of the movie irrelevant. The only work of literature I can compare it too is Kafka's "The Metamorphosis".

    It escapes me how dozens of people can devote months of their lives and millions of dollars to create something so willfully downbeat and depressing, all to no real end. Pathology and despair and heartache can be handled effectively in cinema, "Apocalypse Now" comes to mind. But this movie just makes you want to take a Valium and watch an Ace Ventura movie.

    I repeat. This is the single most depressing movie I have ever seen. If that sound appealing to you, seek it out and prepare yourself for the "Citizen Kane" of heartbreak and anguish.
  • comment
    • Author: Legionstatic
    I just watched this movie today. It was interesting, but weird in the beginning, and I must admit I rented it only to see Alan Rickman, an actor I've enjoyed watching thoroughly since I saw him in Die Hard and Quigley Down Under. (I actually liked him more than Bruce Willis or Tom Selleck and they were both pretty hunky)

    Alan Rickman is one of those actors who frequently plays villains that I truly love watching, (Gary Oldman being another) They are both handsome in offputting ways and have something about them that makes them unique. (loads of acting talent, mesmerizing voice, deep eyes) Anyway, at first I was intrigued by the story of young Stella, but I was quickly bored after not seeing Mr. Rickman more than halfway through the movie. I fastwarded some and saw him riding in on his motorcycle and then enjoyed the rest of the movie until he fell off the boardwalk....boo!!!

    I wouldn't recommend this film unless you like convoluted stories about nasty people doing nasty things to each other. I would however, recommend it for the acting, in that vein, it's pretty believable.
  • comment
    • Author: Kazracage
    I went into this movie expecting a comedy, and, where I may have chuckled a few times, it wasn't a very funny movie. The acting was good, and, as always, Alan Rickman shines in the role of P.L. O'Hara (and he NEEDS to do Hook in a production of Peter Pan!) I just felt ripped off by this movie. I watched the whole thing waiting for Meredith Baxter (Hugh Grant) to get some kind of come-uppance and it never happened.

    This movie left me sad and very disillusioned about the human race in general.

    I can't recommend this film to anyone, and I don't know how they ended up classifying it as anything but a dark, tragic drama.
  • comment
    • Author: Mr_Mix
    This is one of the better films about theatre and what it does to some people. It resembles "The Dresser" in atmosphere to a certain extent, and in the portrayal of many of its characters. Both are set in Northern England during the 1940s, in rather faded theatres. Characters from one film could quite easily have inhabited the other. Here however we follow primarily the journey of a stage-struck young girl as she enters the strange and often unpredictable world of a repertory theatre -her own awfully big adventure. Note the irony of the title. Secret desires and yearnings linger under the surface, bitchiness and petty jealousy escort humour and the spirit of "the show going on" no matter what. It is however quite a dark film, and bravely allows us to get to know characters who are unsympathetic but not altogether unlikable. Alan Rickman underplays beautifully as always, and a restrained Hugh Grant demonstrates his considerable skill as a character actor. This is one of the most interesting of all his screen performances. Georgina Cates gives a stunning performance of the innocent (but not THAT innocent) girl drawn into the world of the theatre, and the supporting cast are faultless. Prunella Scales, Carol Drinkwater and Peter Firth deserve special salutes however. Lots to like here, but it is not at all a feel good movie. Nor is it meant to be.
  • comment
    • Author: Wooden Purple Romeo
    "An Awfully Big Adventure" must imply that the cover has been misdirected to the "comedy" aisle. It's *not* a comedy!!!! It's only a rather unpleasant movie, overall. The casting's good. There's Alan Rickman (oh that voice); Hugh Grant at his slimiest (the only characters he's decent at doing), and lo and behold! Could it be? Gasp! Edward Petherbridge! (who played Lord Peter Wimsey in the 1980s). And you have a very pretty little poppet played by a lovely redheaded girl, who does a fine acting job. It's not the acting that's awful. It's the script and directing, which is an awfully big TRAVESTY. WHAT were you people thinking?

    Directing. Good lord. You have Alan Rickman sporting woolly jumpers, framed in a lot of Tom Cruise Hair Shots astride a motorbike. He's supposed to be the hardened and pained jilted lover, who happens to also be a great Captain Hook. The only reasoning behind the whole Captain Hook presence is that Alan Rickman's voice scares the bejeezus out of everyone. Otherwise, what's the point? You are supposed to have some pity for poor Stella, who is completely blind to the fact that Hugh Grant's character is obviously as fey as Freddie Mercury AND he's a heartless jerk, to boot. And Edward Petherbridge in his least-interesting role EVER, as he apparently earns his paycheque from this movie prancing around in a toga talking to himself, and then breaking his leg and screaming "YOU BLOODY WOMAN!" Oh the melodrama. The main characters are good, and Peter Firth's done a nice job being the jilted lover of Hugh Grant. But WHY was the alcoholic starlet even there? She served no purpose whatsoever except to give Edward Petherbridge a reason to prance around in a toga talking to himself, and to insert the obligatory "I'm an alcoholic so I'm going to throw tantrums...and blunt objects" scene to spice things up a bit.

    The story itself is a bit of a shocker, but i was prepared for that. I barely batted an eye with the Lolita scenes and gay undertones. Blah, blah, blah. No, I think the most horrifying scene of all in this movie was seeing Edward Petherbridge WEARING MAX FACTOR. That, my friends, is an image that will stay with me the rest of my lucid days.

    So it all comes down to this: perhaps THESE are the reasons why "An Awfully Big Adventure" was marketed as a LIGHTHEARTED COMEDY! The script is 'awfully' dreadful, and it's rather like watching an inverted Oedipus Rex. Lighthearted comedy? Well, let me put it this way, darlings: "An Awfully Big Adventure" is as hilarious as "Dancer In the Dark" is a screwball romance.

    Either Miramax's video-release people either have a brilliant sense of ironic humour, or they 'awfully' dig Sophocles in that silly way. Also ironic that "Liverpool" looks suspiciously like Dublin. Hmmm. Anyway, this movie REAKED!
  • comment
    • Author: Quinthy
    What an unusual composition - begins like a story about a girl, then the focus shifts from her to the guy she longs after, until another guy shows up in the second third of the film and becomes the main character whose destiny revolves around the said girl... sounds like a full circle and ends like a train wreck, but thoroughly enjoyable to watch. There's no "main" character and all the characters are flawed which is why the film is unsettling. There's no one here to root for and the characters are likable because they are well played. Which is also unsettling. What makes the ending so sad are some funny and tender moments in the film that reveal three- dimensional characters who inspire understanding and even sympathy. One hopes they will pull through. Even Hugh Grant's character with no redeeming qualities is hilarious enough to be forgiven. The sex scenes are great. I want to be Stella stuck in a damp room with Alan Rickman. The abrupt ending leaves the story unfinished, but that' life. I would cut out all the flashback scenes that seem like they don't belong in this movie. Other than that, I like the atmosphere and the whole look of the film.
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Alan Rickman Alan Rickman - P.L. O'Hara
    Hugh Grant Hugh Grant - Meredith Potter
    Georgina Cates Georgina Cates - Stella
    Alun Armstrong Alun Armstrong - Uncle Vernon
    Peter Firth Peter Firth - Bunny
    Prunella Scales Prunella Scales - Rose
    Rita Tushingham Rita Tushingham - Aunt Lily
    Alan Cox Alan Cox - Geoffrey
    Edward Petherbridge Edward Petherbridge - St. Ives
    Nicola Pagett Nicola Pagett - Dotty Blundell
    Carol Drinkwater Carol Drinkwater - Dawn Allenby
    Clive Merrison Clive Merrison - Desmond Fairchild
    Gerard McSorley Gerard McSorley - George
    Ruth McCabe Ruth McCabe - Grace Bird
    James Frain James Frain - John Harbour
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