Is Anybody There? review

Affecting tale of the friendship between a moody old man and a young boy

Ten-year-old Edward (Son Of Rambow’s Bill Milner) doesn’t have many friends – mostly because he’s obsessed with ghosts and lives with a collection of mad old biddies in a crumbling retirement home run by his parents (Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey).

When an irascible ex-magician (Michael Caine) arrives, Edward discovers unconventional friendship and the power guilt and regret hold in the lives of the adults around him.

There’s certainly charm to be found in this earnest ’80s-set tale, as a quality cast craft little pieces of loveliness from a slight and predictable script.
Milner is an unaffected delight, Morrissey tickles as a be-mulleted man in midlife crisis, Duff is a masterclass in subtlety and Caine… well, he cries a lot as senility strikes at dramatically convenient moments. But the sum of its gently amusing parts doesn’t add up to a film likely to stay long in the heart – or multiplex.

Jane Crowther

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