Harvey (Dustin Hoffman) is a schmuck from New York. He writes jingles but he's about to become a has-been in the business. He flies to London to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter. When he arrives at Heathrow, he has a brief encounter with Londoner Kate Walker (Emma Thompson), who has the thankless job of trying to intercept busy travelers so she can conduct statistical surveys. Harvey brushes her off and hurries through the airport.
Harvey feels replaced by his ex-wife's debonair husband, played by James Brolin, and stands on the periphery of the wedding festivities, not fitting in. He disappoints her by announcing he will have to leave after the wedding (and will miss the reception). This appears to be a pattern.
Harvey misses his flight back to New York, though, and runs into Kate again. In the next 24 hours, the two start a tenuous friendship. He returns to the wedding reception, Kate at his side.
The two best things about this movie are Thompson (my favorite actress) and Hoffman. The story is somewhat predictable, so do not expect any surprises or a lot of action.
The film works, though, because it depicts the loneliness felt by some people who have not been lucky enough to find long-lasting, loving relationships. Few films explore the fear and anxiety that accompany love after 40. This is a quiet love story--the two do not even kiss in the movie. But they carefully reach across the divide of loneliness and each feels the other is a kindred soul.
Emma Thompson could be reading an engineering textbook, and I would watch her.