Is Anybody There? (2008)
Set in 1980s seaside England, this is the story of Edward, an unusual ten-year-old boy growing up in an old people's home run by his parents. While his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat, and his father copes with the on-set of a mid-life crisis, Edward is busy tape-recording the elderly residents to try and discover what happens when they die. Increasingly obsessed with ghosts and the afterlife, Edward's is a rather lonely existence until he meets Clarence, the latest recruit to the home, a retired magician with a liberating streak of anarchy. This movie tells the story of this odd couple, a boy and an old man, facing life together, with Edward learning to live in the moment, and Clarence coming to terms with the past.
- Growing up and growing old never played so poignantly as it does in John Crowley's Is Anybody There? The film grapples with the sad truths of getting older and losing loved ones, all the while maintaining a sardonic wit and sincere warmth. Coming of age in a family-run rest home, the reclusive, death-obsessed Edward (Bill Milner, Son of Rambow) wiles away his days tormenting his parents elderly residents and secretly tape-recording them in search of answers about the afterlife. Edward finds a kindred spirit in Clarence (Michael Caine), the curmudgeonly, retired magician who begrudgingly takes up residence at the guest home. The two strike up an unlikely friendship that helps Clarence come to terms with losing his wife, and Edward finds a way out of his shell. Milner holds his own alongside veteran Caine with a biting yet charming performance. Anne-Marie Duff (Notes on a Scandal) and David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2) offer up moving support as Edwards working-class parents, who struggle to hold onto their marriage while making ends meet. The colorful cast of senior citizens, which includes seasoned actors Rosemary Harris (Aunt May from the Spiderman films) and Karl Johnson (Hot Fuzz, Rome), provides some of the film's most melancholy and comic moments. Along with stellar performances from the impressive ensemble, Is Anybody There? is well-scripted and beautifully shot. Though it deals with some of lifes toughest moments, this is a film that is sure to appeal to audiences of all ages.
Ten-year-old Edward lives in his family-run retirement home. While his mother struggles to keep the family business afloat and his father copes with the onset of a mid-life crisis, Edward leads an increasingly lonely existence until he meets Clarence, a retired magician and grieving widower who refuses to give in gracefully to old age. The two strike up an unlikely friendship that helps them both remember what magic is possible when life is lived to its fullest.