Rated 4.0

(ends Thurs., March 22) A raucously aging actor named Maurice, once “a little bit famous,” undergoes a not-so Platonic attraction to the sullen 19-year-old lass who is a fellow codger’s not-so-helpful caregiver. Peter O’Toole is a crusty delight as the besmitten old gent, and Jodie Whittaker is beguilingly effective as the opaque, mercurial object of his bemusedly aroused interest. Roger Michell and Hanif Kureishi (the director-writer team who made the similarly themed Mother a couple of years back) work out a nice balance of the elegiac and the rambunctious in all this, and get crucial help from the judiciously half-lit, no-nonsense cinematography of Haris Zambarloukos. Leslie Phillips (as the fellow codger), Richard Griffiths (as a third semi-retired actor) and especially Vanessa Redgrave (as Maurice’s affably observant ex-wife) all make pungent contributions to the bittersweet comedy that unfolds.