Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson are two good reasons to see this sweet, pleasant romantic comedy - even if they've been short-changed with pretty ordinary material to work with.

As the title suggests, this story takes place in Hampstead where once-wealthy widow Emily (Diane Keaton) is dealing with a financial crisis created by her adulterous husband, and nicely groomed vagrant Donald (Brendan Gleeson) is battling property developers trying to evict him from his makeshift home on the Heath.

Both are in denial of their predicaments but after they meet and a friendship evolves, they encourage each other to deal with their issues. What follows is predictable but Gleeson and Keaton do well with a light script and find some vulnerability in their characters. There's just enough chemistry to suggest romance, although for a story based on a real event it never convinces.

Some grating side characters - including Emily's snobby neighbours - and a sleazy accountant add some frivolity, but after Emily and Donald, the next best thing is Hampstead itself. As a love letter to the area, director Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey) captures the quaintness of Hampstead's streets and the beauty of the woods and fields of the Heath. The other stunner is Keaton's costuming - stylish and so very Keaton.

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So there are things to like about Hampstead; it's also a film about second chances and finding love in unexpected places, and touches on newsworthy topics such as homelessness, housing shortages and green spaces versus urban crawl - just not in any great depth.

Cast:

Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson

Director:

Joel Hopkins

Rating:

PG (Coarse language and sexual references)

Running time:

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102 mins

Verdict:

Pleasant entertainment, but its stars deserve more.


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