Parents' Guide to

To Olivia

By Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Grief-stricken British drama has tragedy, drinking, smoking.

Movie NR 2022 99 minutes
To Olivia Movie: Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+
age 10+

This is a very good movie

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Based on the difficult marriage between kids author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal, and a terrible tragedy the couple suffered, this is a delicate look at the impact of grief. Central to the plot of To Olivia are (spoiler alert) the different ways that Dahl and Neal approach the loss of their oldest daughter, Olivia. Dahl shuts down, refusing to say his daughter's name, finding comfort in bottles of scotch that he drinks alone in his garden shed. Whereas Neal -- while partial to a drink herself -- conscious of the well-being of her remaining children, chastises her husband, before being offered a role in a new movie starring Paul Newman, causing further conflict between the couple.

Both Bonneville and Hawes are perfectly cast -- the former, in particular, passing more than a striking resemblance to the imposingly tall author. A difficult man, Dahl is a somewhat dislikable character, far removed from the man who brought kids such joy with the likes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the BFG. Yet while his shortcomings -- a temper, jealously, fondness for alcohol -- are all touched upon, they're never fully explored. The near fatal car accident of the couple's son (and subsequent rehabilitation) is mentioned only in passing, for example. It leaves the feeling that perhaps there was scope for a TV series, allowing more time to explore the two characters and what made them tick. But take this for what it is: a glimpse at a specific time in the couple's life, and a well-acted, moving portrayal of loss and grief.

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