Cast: Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Joanna Lumley
Director: Richard Loncraine
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Academy Award nominee Imelda Staunton, Maleficent, Vera Drake) discovers that her husband of forty years (John Sessions) is having an affair with her best friend (Josie Lawrence) she seeks refuge in London with her estranged, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Bridget Jones’ Baby). The two could not be more different – Sandra is a fish out of water next to her outspoken, serial dating, free-spirited sibling. But different is just what Sandra needs at the moment, and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to a community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet and romance as she meets her sister’s friends, Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lumley) and Ted (David Hayman).
For those who go into Finding Your Feet with no expectations, you will that it is such an incredibly enjoyable experience. While the story is by no means original, a strong performance by an incredibly talented ensemble cast and a story that really warms the coldest of hearts make Finding Your Feet an uplifting experience that inspires us to see beyond our lives and follow our dreams.
The film follows Sandra (Staunton) a woman who has dedicated the last 35 years of her life to acquiring status in society through her marriage to her husband Mike (John Sessions). After Sandra finds out that Mike has been having an affair, she leaves him and moves in with her older sister Bif (Imrie) who is a free spirit and the opposite of what Sandra is. Trying to get Sandra out of her depression, Bif brings Sandra to her dance class where Sandra bonds with Bif’s friend Charlie (Spall) a man whose wife is suffering from dementia and does not recognize him anymore. As the two grow closer and the dance group gains more publicity, Sandra must make critical decisions that impact her marriage and her relationships with her new friends. The main thing this film does incredibly well is it builds the world around the characters. We know how we are supposed to feel about each of these characters and that is established relatively quickly. The affair is discovered within the first 10 minutes and does not waste any time getting into the plot. Sandra is a complex character who is going through some life altering issues, and while she can be tough to root for in the beginning, she develops into a very enjoyable character. The chemistry between Staunton and Imrie is very real and they have an on-screen relationship that makes me believe they are really sisters outside of the movie. The toughest parts of the film are when Charlie goes to visit his wife in the nursing home. It is very difficult watching Charlie’s wife slip away from him and there is nothing he can do about it, but this is a reality that many people face. I felt they were hauntingly accurate as well as some of the most powerful in the movie, but they were also used to move the plot along, which is an added bonus.
One of the main issues that the film has is that it is incredibly predictable from start to finish. As little things pop up at the beginning, it is obvious that these will become major plot points down the road. You know that minor issue that one character is having? Guess what? That becomes a part of rising action and a major obstacle for our characters to overcome. You know how Sandra and Charlie are getting along? You better believe Mike comes to his senses and wants her back. The film was structured like this for the entire 111 minute runtime. Some of these plot points could have been either taken out or smoothed out a bit to shore up the plot and make it less predictable. I am able to look past most of these issues since the film was so enjoyable, but that does not mean that the problems do not exist. The film was a few plot point removals away from being a really strong film, but at the end of the day, Finding Your Feet is more than enough fun to make up for these mistakes.
Overall, Finding Your Feet is an incredibly fun movie that makes you want to stand up and cheer for the characters. While it is certainly not the most original plot of all time, it is still enjoyable to watch, which is all you can really ask for. The acting is top-notch and every actor thrives in their role and makes their performance believable. As someone who is less accustomed to British movies and some of the slang words, comedy, and traditions that these people used and went through, it was interesting to experience these elements for the first time in a movie. Hilarious at times and heartbreaking at others, Finding Your Feet is an excellent blend of comedy and drama that anyone can enjoy.
Overall Score: 7.5/10