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Director:          Bill Condon

Stars:              Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen

Running time: 109 mins

Ratings:           IMDB                    6.5      (IMDB score is weighted average of audience scores out of 10)

       Rotten Tomatoes  63%     (Rotten Tomatoes score is % of professional critic reviews that are




 Movie Trailer:





Sir Ian McKellen is 80 years old; Dame Helen Mirren is 74. Individually, these veteran thespians, each with decades of work on stage and screen under the belts, are capable of out-acting, outrunning and outgunning performers one third their age. This is not disputable. They can both go big, broad and Full Metal Bard when needed, or be very subtle and nuanced. Whether these two are in big-budget blockbusters or quaint period-piece dramas, they are respectively dynamic as hell. Put them together, and theoretically it’s like pairing the immovable force with the irresistible object. You’d watch McKellen and Mirren do just about anything together, much less an adaptation of a well-respected novel about a con man slowly circling his lonelyhearts mark. It appears to be the ideal vehicle for both of them. And what’s that old saying about appearances being deceiving?

That particular maxim is something akin to The Good Liar‘s mantra, so maybe it makes a warped kind of sense that what seems like a sure thing upfront ends up being a sham. It introduces both of its main characters as unreliable from the jump: We see McKellen’s dapper elderly gent and Mirren’s elegant widow filling out online dating profiles, him dragging on a cigarette as he checks “No” in the smoking box and her sipping wine as she claims not to be a drinker. They meet for dinner, and after a few pleasantries, confess that neither of them have used their real names. He’s Roy Courtnay, a slow-moving man of modest means who’s estranged from his son; she’s Betty McLeish, a former college professor living in the ‘burbs just outside of London and sitting on a lovely little nest egg. What isn’t revealed, naturally, is that Roy is a con man. He specializes in complex financials scams he sets up with his partner Vincent (Downton Abbey‘s Jim Carter). But he’s not above, say, charming an older woman and then liberating her of her life savings.

Soon, Roy has worked his way into Betty’s heart, and then right into her home. Her grandson Steven (Years and Years‘ Russell Tovey) thinks there’s something dodgy about this geezer with the gammy leg — the limp, like so much with Roy, is fake — worming his way into his gram’s life. But Betty has grown fond of this man. She may gently rebuff his advances, yet you can see how his presence and amiable demeanor warms her up. Betty doesn’t even mind that her new companion’s “financial advisor” keeps popping around, advising her to combine all of their assets together into one banking account. Roy is setting a trap. Or perhaps, unbeknownst to him, he’s walking into one.


Rolling Stone