Venus

Rated NR

In lesser hands, this Lolita-like film could have self-imploded the moment director Roger Michell yelled “Action!” But thanks to Peter O’Toole’s heart-wrenching performance, which has garnered him well-deserved accolades, Venus evokes laughter and tears in all the right places. O’Toole plays Maurice, a seasoned actor dying from prostate cancer. He argues with his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave) and is reduced to accepting demeaning gigs in commercials and soap operas. The old-timer shares his “golden years” with a fellow senior actor (Leslie Phillips) in a local café. However, when this friend’s grandniece rolls into town, Maurice ignites with fervor and an almost-forgotten sexual flare. The gum-smacking and obnoxious 20-year-old is both weirded out and fascinated by the geezer’s perverted crush as the two embark on a special journey of seduction, love and self-awareness. Newcomer Jodie Whittaker manages to hold her own opposite the acting legends with impressive skill; however, it is O’Toole who truly shines in this career-defining role.

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