I watched this movie only because a friend recommended it. That Jim Broadbent plays the lead is a bonus.
Based on a book by Julian Barnes, this movie tells the story of Antony (‘Tony’) Webster (Broadbent), a divorcee/retiree who owns a camera shop selling and repairing second hand Leicas. One day he receives a letter from a law firm informing him about an inheritance – some money and a diary.
From this point, the movie weaves in and out of the past and present. As Tony says at the beginning, “What you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed”.
The past includes Tony’s school days (Billy Howle plays the younger Tony), his friendship with a brilliant classmate (Adrian, played by Joe alwyn) and his first relationship with a girl called Veronica (Freya Mavor; later Charlotte Rampling plays the older Veronica) and her mother Sarah ( Emily Mortimer). The present involves his ex-wife (Harriet Walter) and daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery) who is about to give birth as a single mother.
The theme is delusion – regrets and secrets and closure, lives wrecked and atonement attempted. There is nostalgia and sadness. The atmosphere is amplified by the 13 or so songs, including blues, and passages of guitar solo and lines from the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Philip Larkin.