Hampstead, directed by Joel Hopkins, is the story of an American widow befriending a man who illegally lives on Hampstead Heath, very loosely inspired by the court case of Harry Hallowes. It is an entertaining romantic comedy, working in conjunction with the underdog narrative that we all know and love.
While the premise of the squatter on Hampstead Heath is interesting, this film chooses to follow the romance between the two central characters rather than the narrative of the court case. Although the relationship between the two leads, Emily (Diane Keaton) and Donald (Brendan Gleeson), is charming it seems rather superficial, leaving the audience wanting more from them. However, this relationship is also where the humour stems from, their quirky pairing paving the way for the laugh-out-loud moments. While this isn’t Keaton’s best performance, she embodies the plucky yet lost woman well, gradually working up the courage to make her own choices regardless of what others will think. A great character comes in the form of James (Jason Watkins) playing the slightly creepy other love interest in Emily’s life. His characterisation and wonderfully weird facial expressions quickly became one of the most enjoyable elements of the movie.
One thing that is outstanding in this film is the score, and this, partnered with the scenic shots of Hampstead, creates a beautiful image of a bright, sunny London. It is lovely to see the depiction of the city in this way, and although slightly inaccurate, it works perfectly with the upbeat tone of the movie. The overall theme of hope comes through in these picturesque shots of London, and the picture seems to be a true ode to the capital’s streets.
Overall, Hampstead is a cute, entertaining comedy, if rather shallow, exploring the relationship of two older characters with a fascinating backdrop of events. It creates a warm feeling through the cinematography and script, highlighting the importance of not caring about one’s image.
Hampstead is released nationwide on 23rd June 2017.
Watch the trailer for Hampstead here: