84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft star in a quiet and charming movie about the letters corresponded between single New York gal Helen Hanff (Bancroft) and the employees of a London bookstore found at 84 Charing Cross Road. The film is not long, nor is it exciting. The plot ventures no further than small character insights and the letters we are privileged to listen in on. It feels like we are glimpsing in on some real life, as if the director’s goal was not to entertain us with some fantastic story, but more to give us a taste of people you see everyday.
As a book lover and adoring all things London – this was my cup of tea. Even without my endorsement, though, it’s a movie without fault. The script is excellent – insightful, moving, delicate, and clever. The pace may be slower than your average flick, but its scenery and style interestingly highlight the passing time between the late forties to late sixties. The cast is perfect: Anne Bancroft plays a no-nonsense, confident, energetic, and intelligent woman who loves books and cigarettes. Anthony Hopkins is superb as the bookstore owner Frank Doel giving a reserved yet complex performance. Also featured in this film is the ever-so-wonderful Judi Dench as Frank’s wife – she’s young, and she’s different but she’s great. (surprised, aren’t you…)
This film is not for everyone but is a gem nonetheless. 9/10