Coming of age in its various forms

Coming of age in its various forms

Someone said to me recently, ‘What was Bill Nighy before he got old?’ I thought it was a good question. I saw him for the first time in Love Actually in 2003. He was no spring chicken then.

I thought to myself: Where had he been before that? Had he arrived from outer space? Was it possible that he was born as an old man and, like Benjamin Button, was going to age backwards? Would he end up as an infant?

After a plonk through the internet I discovered to my relief that Mr Nighy did indeed come into the world as a baby. The momentous event took place in 1949.

He made a string of films before Love Actually but either I didn’t see them or they didn’t register with me. In one of them he played an uncredited flower boy so maybe that’s not surprising.

His latest is Buckley’s Chance. In it he plays a man moving to Australia with his mother a year after his father’s death to live with his estranged grandfather.

I have great respect for the aura of craggy dignity he exudes. Maybe some day the people who manage his career will re-issue some of his pre-Love Actually releases to let the world know he did in fact inhabit the planet before then. We would all be infinitely better off armed with this knowledge.

Beast Beast (VOD) is a coming of age drama set in America’s Deep South. Here Are the Young Men (Amazon Prime) adopts a more hard-edged approach to a similar theme as a group of Irish teenagers get drawn into a drink and drugs subculture.

Fosse/Verdon (Disney+) explores the choreographic collaboration between Bob Fosse and his wife Gwen Verdon. They had a fruitful working relationship but a stormy marriage. Fosse’s self-destructive life was brilliantly covered in All That Jazz (Amazon). Here the focus is on his relationship with a woman who was in many ways his muse.

If you survived being stuffed in a bodybag and thrown into a river you’d probably want to report it to the police. The heroine in Lethal Love (Netflix) goes off to her mother’s wedding instead.

In the next scene a woman who’s had her sister bumped off by the same guy happily sings a song in a cake shop while the heroine and her mother – both of whom the killer was romantically involved with – look on smilingly. Everything seems hunky dory. But where’s sis?

The mother/daughter scenario worked better for me in The Graduate. Imagine Dustin Hoffman going off with Anne Bancroft instead of Katharine Ross and you’ll have an idea of what transpires here.

Many years ago I saw a film called The Stepfather. It was about this maniac who keeps marrying women and killing them off when the families they create don’t come up to scratch for him. This is even more ridiculous, which is saying something. File under TNN (Typical Netflix Nonsense).