So just about everyone who will have wanted to see this prominently Jim Broadbent vehicle will have done so by now. (Can't think why such a quintessentially British, London-located film should have had such a long-delayed release date in its country of origin, months after most of the rest of the world has already seen it). Furthermore, its director is the Indian, Ritash Batra, whose lovely film, 'The Lunchbox' of 2013, I just caught up with a month or so ago on BBC iPlayer. So this latest one held quite some promise, a further boost being in having Charlotte Rampling in the cast. Though her overall screen time isn't many minutes in length, her scenes in the final third of the film are all strategic ones, and her presence is (as is usual with her) one of the most memorable aspects of the entire film.
A lot of the film is flashbacks to Jim Broadbent's Cambridge University days, his first romance there and the shattering effect of the suicide of his best friend, for which he harbours guilt feelings. Now a divorcee running a small camera shop, he's still in contact with his ex, (Harriet Walter) and has a close but occasionally tetchy relationship with his heavily pregnant single daughter (Michelle Dockery). Circumstances happen which occasion him to investigate those long-past University days, opening a can of worms, and eventually leading him to meet again his first love, Veronica (Rampling), played in flashback by Freya Mavor. His own younger self is acted by Billy Howie, and it must be said that neither of these two look much like their older selves being portrayed. But it's not very important, both present day and fifty years previous strands holding up well and interesting.
But overall it's Broadbent's film with him having the meatiest role he's had in many a year, which he rises to marvellously.
I believe that the story's ending was changed by the director without the approval of Julian Barnes, on whose novel the film is based, or that of scriptwriter Nick Payne. (Ironic, considering the film's title.) But in filmic terms it still works effectively and holds it together.
It's a gently-paced film, well satisfying with few, if any, histrionic moments. I liked it much more than I'd been expecting...........7.5.