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To Olivia

  • Drama
  • 2021
  • John Hay
  • 99 mins
  • PG

Summary

In 1962, writer Roald Dahl and his movie star wife Patricia Neal have retreated to the English countryside to bring up their young family. Tragically, their lives are turned upside down by the death of their daughter, Olivia. As the couple struggle through the loss, their grief becomes a source of redemption and strength which changes their destiny. Drama, starring Hugh Bonneville, Keeley Hawes and in one of his final films, Geoffrey Palmer

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

The tempestuous marriage of author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal is the subject of this respectable yet unimaginative film, which examines an especially painful but creatively fruitful time in their lives. Directed and co-written by John Hay and based on the biography An Unquiet Life by Stephen Michael Shearer, it hastens through Dahl and Neal's backstories during opening credits rendered in eye-catching animation, picking things up in 1962 in rural Buckinghamshire, where the pair are living with their three children in a "rickety old tub". Hugh Bonneville gives life to a dissatisfied Dahl, who is reeling from the underperformance of his book James and the Giant Peach, while Keeley Hawes plays Neal as the family breadwinner whose own career is nevertheless on the wane, before a personal tragedy brings their marriage to its knees. If it's all rather rushed, Hawes has a few very affecting moments of raw grief and Sam Heughan has a memorable crack at Neal's ferociously arrogant Hud co-star Paul Newman, who she is under pressure to impress. Sadly, To Olivia struggles to capture Dahl's rich internal life, and ultimately feels like a very conventional take on a very unconventional man.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Patricia NealKeeley Hawes
Roald DahlHugh Bonneville
Paul NewmanSam Heughan
Marty RittConleth Hill
Geoffrey FisherGeoffrey Palmer

Crew

rolename
DirectorJohn Hay

Details

Released on
2021-02-19
Languages
English
Guidance
Swearing.
Formats
Colour
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