Finding Your Feet has Imelda Staunton reluctantly doing the hokey cokey – what more could you possibly want from a film?
“It’s one thing being scared of dying…it’s a whole different matter being scared of living”
Despite the horrors of Joanna Lumley’s mugging on the poster, Finding Your Feet is kinda tailor-made for this return to the golden-years genre that I do love so much. Just a glance at the cast – Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, David Hayman – gives you an indication that it is going to be well-acted at the very least, plus the trailer gives you hints of the song and dance routines within.
The film kicks off with Staunton’s Sandra celebrating the retirement of her husband of 35 years but all the plans she has in store go out the window when she finds him snogging her best friend (that dastardly Josie Lawrence). Utterly distraught, she flings herself on the mercies of her estranged older sister Bif (Imrie) and through the magic of community ballroom dancing, open air swimming and dreams of barge living, she begins to heal.
As befits the genre, Richard Loncraine’s film is very light of step, comic rather than challenging at many points and charming with it. And as also befits a Britflick, writers Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft introduce a certain note of grit as infidelity, death and dementia circle around the lives of all involved here. There are no great surprises (apart from the brilliance of the hokey cokey bit) but there’s an elegance to the storytelling that resonates appropriately.
Staunton and Imrie are great fun together, as the former struggles in the transition from a Surrey mansion to a North London council estate and the latter delights in introducing her younger sibling to a life of spliffs, the ladies pond and the dancing at which Sandra used to excel. Spall as predictably wonderful as a slapdash rom-com lead and though she only pops up a couple of times, it is always great to see Phoebe Nicholls. Not exactly ground-breaking but come now, that’s not why we’re here.