7:30 PM, 19th July, 2017
Tony Webster (Broadbent) is a semi-retired 70-something curmudgeon living in London. He remains friends with his ex-wife Margaret (Walter), as they mutually support their pregnant single daughter, Susie (Michelle Dockery), and sometimes meet to discuss their lives over a pot of tea.
Tony’s stable, predictable life is interrupted when a solicitor’s letter arrives unexpectedly informing him that he’s been bequeathed an old diary by the recently departed mother of an old girlfriend (played in the present day by Rampling). The executor won’t forward the diary, however, so it’s up to Tony to track it down.
All this takes him back to his life as a young adult with its challenges, its awkward naivety, its loves and friendships. Through flashbacks we see the past as Tony remembers it, and then a slow realisation and personal resolution as the uncomfortable truth emerges.
This film is likely to be particularly understood by, and resonate with, babyboomers who lived through the 1960s and its mores and morals. That said, this is an intelligent, thoughtful drama with intelligent, thoughtful performances that will keep you guessing. Much like our perception of the past, opinions on this film vary widely, so see it and make up your own mind.