Author(s): Jamie Madden
Location: Melbourne, Australia
“A Long Way Down”
Directed by Richard Curtis
Produced by Mike Newell and Stephen Frears
Written by Richard Curtis and Nick Hornby, based on the book by Nick Hornby
Original Score by Craig Armstrong
Hugh Grant as Martin; a publicly disgraced TV personality
Emma Thompson as Maureen; a middle-aged woman with no life beyond caring for her severely disabled adult son
Bill Nighy as JJ; an American rocker whose music career has just ended with a whimper
Keira Knightley as Jess; the unstable, punked-out daughter of a junior government minister
Tagline: “Misery loves company"
Synopsis: One lonely New Year’s Eve changes the course of destiny for four desperate people who meet on the top of a London rooftop. Miserable and hopeless, they each came to jump off the roof to their deaths. Martin, a television personality has been humiliated publicly, Maureen has hit menopause and a mid life crisis while taking care of a disabled adult son, Jess has broken up with her boyfriend, which has left her emotionally unstable, despite having a privileged upbringing and J.J. is an American rock star whose career has ended on the double release of an album of classic jazz standards and a Christmas album.
Bonded by a shared misery, they spend the night together. As they share their stories, and get on each other’s nerves, they actually save each other’s lives, and realize that while all share suicidal tendencies, they have completely different lives. Through one rough night, the four share a strong bond that provides an outlet for frustration, angst, anxiety and humiliation.
What the press would say: Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral” “Love Actually”) reunites with Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy, in this winning adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel. The morose, depressing topic of suicide and desperation are brought to life with humorous and yet moving stories from each of the four characters. Emma Thompson is in her element as a desperate middle-aged housewife of a disabled adult son, and brings both humor and pathos to her character, weaving a clever tapestry that is the heart of the film. Keira Knightley proves she can really act in this role of a privileged girl who is left heartbroken and suicidal. Hugh Grant marvelous plays a disgraced television presenter, and shows no inhibitions as an actor in the role. But the standing ovation goes to Bill Nighy, who seems to play a character similar to his character in “Love Actually”, but whose character falls flat on its face. With great comic timing, ability and depth, Nighy, is the glue that holds the film together. Thanks to a endearing script written both by Curtis (who obviously has great chemistry with his team) and Hornby, “A Long Way Down” is a heartwarming tale of greed, desperation, loneliness and friendship.
For Your Consideration (comedy categories for Golden Globes)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score
Best Actor (Hugh Grant)
Best Actress (Emma Thompson)
Best Supporting Actor (Bill Nighy)
Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley)