DIR: Brian O’Malley • WRI: Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft • PRO: Andrew Berg, Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft, John Sachs, James Spring, Charlotte Walls • DOP: Richard Kendrick • ED: Tony Kearns • MUS: Kevin Murphy, Stephen Shannon, David Turpin • DES: Michael Corenblith • CAST: Timothy Spall, Joanna Lumley, Imelda Staunton
Finding Your Feet stars Imelda Staunton in a tale of riches to rags in Richard Loncraine’s latest directorial offering. Staunton’s Sandra Abbott, much to her delight, becomes Lady Sandra after her husband receives a knighthood, only to discover her husband embarked on an affair for five years with her friend. Relinquishing her Lady title, Sandra leaves her husband to live with her estranged sister Bif (Celia Imrie) in Bif’s anti-palatial council flat. Bif lives a hippie lifestyle, in complete contrast to Sandra’s champagne lifestyle, and the latter is reluctant to share Bif’s worldview. Bif’s best friend Charlie (Timothy Spall) and Sandra immediately do not get along, but there is something bubbling underneath their disagreements, and Bif is aware of this. Ultimately, Bif knows that the only thing that will shake Sandra out of her old ways and to acknowledge her new chance at life and love is waiting for her at a local dance class where Sandra can learn the dance of life again.
With this sort of genre piece, there is the accompanying Ronseal element – it does exactly what it says on the tin – or advertising posters. The plot is somewhat predictable with more than a few twee moments and these blips are thankfully excused by the overall winning charm of Finding Your Feet. Celia Imrie as Bif is the standout character of this film and ultimately engages you in what’s happening on-screen. Imelda Staunton’s Sandra is easy to dislike, and Bif encourages her to change and encourages the audience to change their minds about the snobby Sandra who has “probably never seen a central heating bill” in her life. The differences between the pair plays out well and the plot hinges on Bif, for which Celia Imrie delightfully assists with her spirited performance.
Timothy Spall also provides some of the film’s charm, much like his turn in 2014’s The Love Punch, which also saw him acting alongside Imrie. The two actors have an on-screen chemistry that Loncraine understands and he maximises the potential of their chemistry in Finding Your Feet. The film’s ensemble cast appear to enjoy themselves; including a small role from the effervescent Joanna Lumley whose character is navigating the world of online dating to mixed success. These characters are pivotal in sending home the film’s message of life and its joie de vivre and its more challenging moments.
Overall, Finding Your Feet does possess some of the narrative qualities seen in recent films within this genre, such as Joel Hopkins’ Last Chance Harvey or Roger Michell’s Le Week-End. It is predictable fare but the film remains an enjoyable and emotional piece that possesses a true universal quality that might be ignored with its marketed appearance. It may appear to target a certain older demographic but hopefully all audiences will go along and be utterly charmed by Finding Your Feet.
12A (See IFCO for details)
Finding Your Feet is released 23rd February 2018