The carer

Let’s see if that sounds familiar to you. A cantankerous elderly man refuses to accept the personal care providers that his family have hired. Until the right person comes along and touches his heart (insert two or more fingers down the throat to induce vomiting). I’ve seen that type of stories, in plays or films, so many times that it is not funny anymore. There are variations. In some case it is an elderly woman, the hired help can be a chauffeur, a nurse, a security guard, and so forth. In The carer it is Sir Michael Gifford (Brian Cox), a retired Shakespearean actor with Parkinson’s disease. His daughter, Sophia (Emilia Fox) and his lover, Milly (Anna Chancellor) are desperate, until they get young Hungarian Dorottya (Coco König). If she’s in awe of Sir Michael, it’s because she wants to become an actress and is planning an audition for entry at a drama school. When Sir Michael gets the news that he will receive a lifetime achievement award, Sophia refuses to let him attend and fires Dorottya. The biggest problem with The carer, beside the clichéd screenplay, is König’s lame Dorottya. The character is a bore. She is so unexceptional, we wonder what he sees in her. They recite Shakespeare together. Oh wow! And it happens too quickly and easily. Whatever the filmmakers saw in König, has not transposed itself on the screen very well. But in a rare leading part, Brian Cox gets to work those Shakespearean muscles and do scatological jokes about incontinence within the same film, sometimes in the same scene. The director inserts old film and TV Brian Cox archives as if they were Sir Michael ’s. His acceptance speech is a grand affair, he huffs and puffs (How‘s that for clichés?) and goes off stage almost howling at the moon. And Cox hams every bit of it, as if he’ll never get another leading part again. And, judging by the film, he might not. The carer is beneath his talent.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

The carer

Directed by:
János Edelényi

Screenplay by:
Gilbert Adair
János Edelényi
Tom Kinninmont

Starring:
Brian Cox
Coco König
Emilia Fox
Anna Chancellor

89 min.

Rated 14A

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