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December 31st, 11:42pm. New Year’s Eve.
A well groomed, suited gentleman stands at the very top of a tower block, looking down over the city of London. But he’s not there for sightseeing – he is about to jump to his death.
Arms spread wide, he takes a deep breath and prepares to step forward…
A lady suddenly appears in the doorway behind him. Dressed in a long skirt and winter boots, she hugs herself tightly, protecting herself from the cold. She looks up, and an expression of shock forms on her face.
“I don’t quite know how to ask this, but.. are you going to be long?” she asks.
The lady finds the man’s face familiar – she walks slowly towards him and starts to ask him who he is.
..a young girl suddenly appears in the doorway behind them.
She has come from a New Year’s Eve party – she is all leather, tights and high heels, complete with tiara. But she has one flaw – tears stream down her beautiful face.
The lady and man look round at her, as she angrily looks straight ahead at the ledge of the tower block.
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!!” – her blood-curdling scream pierces the crisp night air as she pounces and runs toward the edge..
..a young gentleman appears from behind a rooftop air-vent.
He is a pizza delivery boy, also intending to end his life. The lady, the gentleman, and the distraught young girl stare wide-eyed at him. He stares back.
It is clear this isn’t going to be an ordinary night…
Pierce Brosnan – Martin
Toni Collette – Maureen
Imogen Poots – Jess
Aaron Paul – J.J.
I cried during this movie.
It is the tale of four adults of mixed ages who each want to commit suicide – but fate bands them together and sends them in a different direction, which sees them form a surrogate family in order to cope with the struggles they endure in their lives. The opening scene is the most important, the most emotional – because it shows each character at his / her most vulnerable. It is also quite funny. Strange to think a bunch of people trying to kill themselves could be funny at all, but it was – and the audience seemed to lap it up.
Toni Collette provides the first big laugh with her question, “are you going to be long?” – a conversation starter so inappropriate and raw, that it actually made the audience laugh out loud. And this was just the opening of the movie. After having their plan foiled by each other, the strangers then disperse and go their own separate ways. But its pouring down with rain, and when Martin spots Maureen standing shrivelled by a bus stop, he stops to give her a lift.
Then he picks up Jess.
And then J.J.
Whether they like it or not, these poor people have been drawn together somehow.
A scene that stands out for me as being incredibly emotional is when Jess returns to her New Year’s Eve party, takes drugs, and ends up in hospital because of the overdose.
Martin, Maureen and J.J. stand outside the hospital as she comes staggering slowly out. Jess bites her bottom lip and strikes a cool pose with her arms in the air, and then begins babbling about her awful hospital gown. This scene is full of hysteria; you know that certain type of hysteria where something bad has happened to a person in the middle of the night, and in response, their adrenaline takes over and they use expressive humour to cover up their upset.
Jess stumbles towards her three ‘guardian angels’ and says, “..OK, 1 – they took my clothes and gave me this horrible fucking hospital gown which has an open back. So my arse is sticking out, and my arse is not my best feature. 2..”
Her voice cracks as she continues babbling hysterically, and she starts crying again outside the hospital.
I had a lump in my throat. (maybe because I’ve been in hysterical early-hours situations myself in the past so I can relate. All influenced by alcohol I must add). The emotion radiated from the screen during this scene. It was very raw, powerful – and was superbly acted by Imogen. I felt absorbed in what was happening, and didn’t want to look away – it was that well acted. Imogen Poots is fantastic; a multi-talented actress; very convincing as a typical British girl from South West London, or even a typical girl from New York.
A Long Way Down opens with Martin talking about the events in his life which led to him to the top of the central London tower block. Oh its informative and relevant to the movie, but for fuck sake – Pierce Brosnan is awful at narrating. His dreary monotone may seem husky to some people, but it almost sent me to sleep. He’s never really won me over in any movie he’s starred in – and this was no exception.
As he droned on about his prison stretch, not only was I unsympathetic, but I had immediately decided he was the worst possible choice for the role – and played with a few ideas of just who would be the perfect choice to play Martin Sharp. Yes – Pierce had sent me off into my own thoughts with his awfully boring, unexpressive voice.
The beginning of a movie is crucial I reckon; the audience need to be drawn in immediately. Be given a character they are interested in, and the opening scene lit up by that character. Unfortunately, Pierce offered no such escape – his vacant voice remained its same tone all the way through. Which was a shame, because the movie was good – the opening just wasn’t as effective as it could have been. Thank God for Toni when she arrived!
Epic fail of the director using Mr. Brosnan – I would’ve swapped him with an actor who has more character.
If you’re a person who gets offended when others jeer at disabilities / conditions, then be prepared for this. Throughout the movie, raw one-liner’s are used which come across very blasé. And these are mainly all delivered by Jess. For example, she jokes about Maureen’s disabled son Matty who has special needs, makes light of J.J. and the fact he has cancer, and so on.
I cringed at one point because of something she said (and I usually don’t give a shit) – it is that type of movie. Although this is Imogen’s character and she plays her superbly, the dialogue she delivers is sometimes brutal. Brutally honest. Again, be prepared – you’re in for some ‘tell it like it is’ comedy which could evoke the reaction where you naturally laugh at what is said – then clap your hand over your mouth when you realise it’s wrong. Yes, there are no holes barred here.
“when is the next day of the year people try to kill themselves?” (Jess)
“…Valentine’s Day” (Maureen)
She’s brilliant isn’t she,Toni Collette.
Expressive, emotional and bursting with dynamics which are delivered full throttle in any movie she stars in.
My first memory – and what I’ll always remember her for – is Muriel (Muriel’s Wedding). I remember feeling heartbroken watching the desperate girl burst into tears in that film. Toni was a natural; the way her face crumpled, her bottom lip started quivering – and then the explosion of emotion.
Lump in my throat? Felt like my fucking Adam’s Apple had imploded.
As Maureen in A Long Way Down, Toni was just as brilliant. Again, the Australian actress delivered a faultless performance and got stuck into her character.
Fom the second the director yells, “..aaaand – ACTION!” I bet Toni is switched on and already moulded into her character. Her acting skills are admirable.
Lately, she’s played more American roles such as Sarah in Enough Said and Pam in The Way Way Back. These have shown her to be a hippy single mother, and a sultry all-American housewife. Just these two movies show there is no stopping the talents of this great actress.
Hats off to her, she can deliver where she’s needed.
In A Long Way Down she made me cry.
This time round she is a British 51-year-old mother of a disabled son, and she certainly packs a punch. As well as an air of sadness about her decision to jump from a rooftop, there is the issue of her son – and one scene in particular was heart-wrenching. When Matty appears too still in bed one night, Maureen panics – subsequently ending up in hospital whilst waiting for the results of his heart attack.
A surgeon comes walking towards her, and as she gets up Maureen cries, “no, no, no, NO…” in an emotion-soaked way only Toni can.
I had tears running down my cheeks.
I had no idea this movie was based on a book. I thought it was simply another cinematic creation from director Pascal Chaumeil.
Published in 2005, A Long Way Down was written by British author Nick Hornby. The book received mixed reviews from critics.
Overall, A Long Way Down is emotional, and very sad. But its winning element is its concept; how four strangers all decide to jump off a building at the same time. This gives it its own special dynamic.
The acting performed and emotion displayed was superb, I just cannot fault it. The only spanner in the works was Pierce Brosnan who should have been swapped for a different actor – he added nothing interesting to the movie, no quality. However, the rest of the cast were excellent and together created something which came across very powerful.
This movie didn’t blow me away, but it kept me interested and emotionally engaged – and if a movie can do that, then the cast are doing something right. It is definitely worth a watch, just for its quirky yet raw humour and unique storyline.