Feature

Is Anybody There?

Michael Caine plays a retired magician with incipient Alzheimer’s who checks himself into a retirement home and befriends the owner's 10-year-old son.

Directed by John Crowley(PG-13)

**

An aging magician befriends a 10-year-old boy.

Thanks to Michael Caine, this small film turns out to be a “richly satisfying one,” said Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. The screen veteran plays a retired magician with incipient Alzheimer’s who, after checking himself into an English retirement home, forms a friendship with the owners’ death-obsessed 10-year-old son (Bill Milner). Caine, 76, displays a touching vulnerability here, “blending humor and heartbreak” in a performance that makes the film achingly poignant. If only he had a script to match his acting, said Tasha Robinson in The Onion. There’s “little ambition” in Peter Harness’ writing, and the film never becomes anything more than just another “mutually enlightening” tale about a “crotchety old person and a troubled young person.” In the end, what sets the film apart are John Crowley’s “understated touches,” said Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. By adding quiet grace notes to Caine’s “wonderfully nuanced” acting, the director has crafted a “finely drawn” and quintessentially British drama.

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