Is anybody there?
What a charmer Michael Caine still is. Do we have another 76-year-old actor so able to get away with choosing a movie in part because he recently saw a friend succumb to Alzheimer’s? In this seesaw of poignancy and drollery from writer Peter Harness and director John Crowley, Caine plays a crusty old magician who, while en route to senility, checks into a seaside English village retirement home and reluctantly befriends the death-obsessed young son (Bill Milner) of its harried owners (Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey). “You accumulate regrets, and they stick to you like old bruises,” the old man says, with the authority of embittered surrender. In spite of a probably unintended message that mortality is only slightly harder to avoid than cliché, the movie does have its moments. But a more adventurous take would just go ahead and be a Harold and Maude remake, with a cross-dressing Caine in the Ruth Gordon role.