You’d think that at close to forty years of age and with a solid thirty-five of those years devoted almost exclusively to watching movies, I’d have figured a few things out. But there are areas where I am constantly confused and find myself completely without bearings. A big one: Why is it funny and charming when people over the age of sixty-five smoke weed? Or dance? Or have sex (or even talk about it)? Or curse? Or do literally anything? What’s the story there? What am I missing?
Finding Your Feet plays as if it’s ripped straight from the Miramax reject pile circa 1994. An uptight conservative British woman (Imelda Staunton) finds out her husband of thirty years has been cheating on her. She moves in with her free-spirited older sister (Celia Imrie), living the odd couple life in their ratty London apartment. She starts taking dance lessons, takes advice from her five-times-divorced new friend (Joanna Lumley, obviously) and falls for the sweet but goofy handyman (Timothy Spall). And you’d better believe she learns some valuable life lessons along the way!
All of this happens except for that last part. No lessons are learned. Nothing of any real consequence happens at all, really. This is a script so contrived that you can predict the characters’ next moves down to their facial expressions, leaving the cast with so little to work with that by the time the film fades out on what I predict will end up being the most over the top sappy and ridiculous final shot of any film this year, I had to wonder just what kind of movie everyone involved thought they were making. Because there’s no way they all pictured this.
The film is also casually racist and transphobic, with freakishly left-field jokes flying around with no real purpose that I could see other than to be played for straight laughs and one scene involving one of only two black characters in the film dying suddenly for no reason at all, followed immediately by a joke about the size of the dead man’s penis. Unbelievable. But more pressing is the issue of the film pretending to be a story about second chances and rediscovering the joys of life and love while doing nothing to back any of that up. The film is pathologically averse to standing up for itself, not even letting its characters follow through on even the most modest changes or revelations afforded them before they’re whisked back into the machinations of the randomly jumbled assemblage of scenes this movie is apparently calling a plot.
But if I had to pick the most troubling element here from a film full of them, it would have to be that a character’s ashes are spread out into the water where people are about to go swimming immediately after the funeral. If I’d been working with the same level of ambition as the creators of Finding Your Feet, that would have been my entire review right there.