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Jack and Sarah

Year: 1995
Studio: Polygram Filmed Entertainment
Director: Tim Sullivan
Writer: Tim Sullivan
Cast: Richard E Grant, Samantha Mathis, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen
This is the simple story of a housekeeper who moves in with a widower and new father and they gradually fall in love.

In lesser hands, it could be an instantly forgettable romantic comedy except for enough charm to carry a hundred romantic comedies and some of the best performance chops ever assembled in a film. Is it because it's Brisith, and an American studio could never muster the rawness or honesty needed to make it so attractive and engaging? Maybe.

Jack (Grant) has a great life with a beautiful wife about to give birth and a gorgeous house they're gradually renovating. After coming to following a fall bought on by all the excitement of the impending birth, Jack's world falls over when he learns his wife's died in childbirth.

He goes about dealing with his grief in a very British way - virtually ignoring the child and shutting down. He and his wife's parents - among them the brilliant Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins - have to band together to make him connect with his infant daughter, and his American nanny (Mathis) gradually and unwittingly ingratiates herself under his skin until he can feel love again.

It's a hackneyed premise and some of the beats of the story are handled a little too quickly for reality, but every line, performance and occurrence is so honest and beautiful it never matters. Grant and Mathis and the chemistry they share is the icing on the cake of a film that has plenty of sweetness but not a grain of schmaltz.

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