Thursday, March 17, 2011

Movie review: Peter's Friends

Peter's FriendsWe saw "Peter's Friends" in a Portland theater with Nadine & David when it first came out in 1992, and watched it once again last weekend. It's sort of like a British "Big Chill"--friends from Cambridge University who get together years after graduation...and their sometimes-dysfunctional interactions with each other. I remember enjoying it because it had our favorite British acting couple of the times--Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh (who long ago divorced). It's packed with wonderful British actors...in addition to Thompson and Branagh, there's Hugh Laurie (of "House" fame), Stephen Fry, Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge in "Harry Potter" and also "Vera Drake"), and Phyllida Law (Emma Thompson's mum). It also features American comedian Rita Rudner as an obnoxious American actress.

As I often find myself ruminating when I see films about a group of college friends, I wish I had a group of friends like that...the ones who you get together with year after year, and can be completely vulnerable with...and meet with on a regular basis. I have many childhood and college friends, but not a big group like this...or not ones that I meet with regularly. I love the idea of the continuous meetings...the collegiality and constant connections.

As I've grown, my friendships have changed. Many of my closest friends are the ones I've made in my 30s and 40s. I still feel a great fondness for many of my childhood and college friends, but we don't have very frequent contact with one another.

The other thing that struck me about this movie was how much I've changed since the early 1990s. In the film, the couple portrayed by Staunton and Laurie have had twins, and one of the twins died. This nearly devastates their marriage. Perhaps as a reflection of my lack of awareness of this issue at the time, I did not remember this aspect of the film (which of course, in this day and age and with the things I've experienced, made me cry). Or perhaps it's just an indicator of my memory loss!

At any rate, it was a fun trip down memory lane to the 80s, which was when both Mike and I were at university...although mine was across the pond.

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