Last Chance Harvey



Midlife love story is sweet, but may not appeal to teens.
  • Review Date: December 25, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A father tries to patch things up with his daughter, putting his already endangered job in more peril. A woman comes to a man's aid and not only befriends him but also helps him through a rough patch, as he does for her. A daughter grows increasingly exasperated with her needy mother but still stays patient and giving.


Tense conversations, but no physical fights.


A sweet kiss between two people falling in love.


Some brief outbursts of profanity, primarily "s--t."


Some visible signage and product placement -- including but not limited to Johnnie Walker Black Label, Air Berliner, and Marriott -- but not an overwhelming amount.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, mostly social -- though one scene shows a man ready to drown out his sorrows in hard liquor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sweet romance about middle-aged lovers deals with some mature themes -- family dysfunction, for starters -- in a low-key way that likely won't lure too many younger viewers. But those who do see it, especially older teens, will be greeted with strong storytelling about a very realistic relationship. There's some strong language (mostly "s--t"), and few scenes involve drinking, primarily in a social setting (at pubs, for instance) -- though one character sits at a bar seemingly ready to drown his sorrows. It may feel like a downer at first, but it's ultimately a hopeful film.

What's the story?

Harvey (Dustin Hoffman), a composer who makes his living writing commercial jingles, has hit a series of wrong notes. His estranged daughter is about to get married in London, and he's determined to prove himself worthy of her trust by being there for the weekend. His boss threatens to fire him if he's not back on Monday, so Harvey promises to return in time. But there are challenges ahead: Once he gets to London, he finds out that his daughter has asked her stepfather to walk her down the aisle instead. And Kate (Emma Thompson), a government statistician whom Harvey meets at Heathrow and winds up spending the weekend with has given him pause ... as well as the courage to change his fate. But Kate isn't sure she can trust in a virtual stranger when life, up to this moment, life has disappointed her so.

Is it any good?


LAST CHANCE HARVEY plays on a low register but achieves maximum impact with a simple story that feels achingly authentic. As two souls who've lost their way in middle age, Hoffman and Thompson play their characters subtly but with tremendous empathy. And their chemistry is lovely; they're like two puzzle pieces meant to fit together very well.

Kate and Harvey's relationship -- which mostly unfolds in a series of languid walk-and-talks that make the most of the London setting -- is a grown-up pairing that relies less on sizzling sex appeal and more on an unexplainable, but very real, feeling of connection. It's a sweet movie -- a mite predictable, yes, and not exactly groundbreaking, but a joy to watch, even if only to witness two acting masters at work.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes this movie different from many Hollywood romances. Does the central relationship seem more or less realistic than in other romances you've seen? Why? How do most movies define "love"? How does that compare to real life? Also, what does the movie say about the power of forgiveness -- not only of others, but of yourself?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 16, 2009
DVD release date:May 5, 2009
Cast:Dustin Hoffman, Eileen Atkins, Emma Thompson
Director:Joel Hopkins
Studio:Overture Films
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:brief strong language

This review of Last Chance Harvey was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator Written byfif May 4, 2009

I wanted more

Good acting, how can you go wrong with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, but it didn't quite click for me. I kept waiting for the moment when their relationship became real to me and I wanted so badly to be emotionally involved in the story, but it never quite happened. Good messages in the film and enjoyable. Some swearing.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bywonder dove August 12, 2009

One of those beautifully, rare films you gotta see!

I love love LOVE this movie! First time I saw it I fell in love. And not just for Hoffman, even though he is fantastic as usual. Emma Thompson was adorable! I liked how this movie felt SO realistic, the characters just pull you through the screen and you capture their every emotion. It was very sad yet had it's humorous side which was perfect. I think a lot of tweens and teens will not enjoy this particular film, because it lacks the usual violence and mature themed content that most people enjoy. Although, if you're one of those people who just love a nice, sweet romantic drama than I highly recommend this one. This movie gets 5 shining stars out of five, from me!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byBestPicture1996 August 2, 2010

Human movie

Not humane but human, meaning probably ALL of us have gone through what I like to call a Harvey day, where crap just goes wrong and you can't seem to catch a break. I'm not sure the movie would've worked as well if the 2 main stars hadn't given great performances though. Nonetheless movie watchers with quiet tastes should check this film out.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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