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With: Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Joanna Lumley, David Hayman, John Sessions, Josie Lawrence, Indra Ové, Sian Thomas
Written by: Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft
Directed by: Richard Loncraine
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive material, brief drug use, and brief strong language
Running Time: 111
Date: 03/30/2018
IMDB

Finding Your Feet (2018)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Second Dance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Another attempt at a sweet working-class English comedy in the vein of The Full Monty, this one isn't very funny, it's far too maudlin, far too long, and even the choppy dancing scenes fail to satisfy.

In Finding Your Feet, Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) is looking forward to a life of retirement with her well-to-do husband, when, at his retirement party, she discovers that he is having an affair. She goes to stay with her sister, the free-spirit Bif (Celia Imrie), who lives happily in her average apartment.

Bif likes to go on dates, to go swimming in freezing lakes and takes senior dance classes with her friends Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman). The stiff, elitist Sandra clashes with the kindly Charlie, but when Bif drags her sister to the class, she begins to loosen up. But new love is elusive, as Charlie continues to care for his wife, stricken with Alzheimer's, and Sandra's ex-husband is beginning to think that he wants her back.

Quite a few other sweet, lighthearted movies about amateur dancers have managed to convey joy and freedom, from Billy Elliot to Shall We Dance? and even Cuban Fury, but Finding Your Feet spends only a fraction of its running time on the dance floor. When it does, the frantic editing ruins the flow. It feels more closed off than freeing.

Then, while the characters are certainly likable, and while the actors are enormously talented, the screenplay gives them only the most tentative attempts at humor. Not even the raucous, sassy Joanna Lumley gets to do much more than tell a feeble joke.

Instead, director Richard Loncraine (of the excellent Richard III as well as sillier things like Wimbledon and Firewall) focuses on scenes that don't seem to lead anywhere. This includes not one but two subplots about sickness, i.e. lung cancer and Alzheimer's disease, as well as a dance performance that has little at stake, and that creaky old chestnut: a last-minute race against time for true love.

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