84 Charing Cross Road (1987)

84 CHARING CROSS ROAD, Anne Bancroft, 1986, (c) Columbia

David Jones directs Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench in this lovely little dramatisation of the correspondence between a gregarious New York writer and the prim London bookshop worker she employs for her hardback needs. 

A delicate wonder of a movie, charting the subtle social changes of the 20th century with pleasing nostalgia and filled with an overwhelming love of books, performance, and words, spoken and unspoken. Bancroft is superb as the unguarded and generous Helene Hanff, her recitation of the real life request letters to the staid bookstore employees being likeable, goading and conspiratorially seductive. This is a real glass of full fat milk and plate of dark chocolate digestives of an experience – sweet and warming, comfort and pleasure. Deja vu, washed over me. I know I read the book it is based on in my twenties but this felt visually too familiar. I must have watched it as a child, and forgotten I had done so. The bookshop on Charing Cross Road is now a McDonalds. One I used to walk past on a daily basis.

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