Is Anybody There? | Chicago Reader

Is Anybody There?

After the wrenching Boy A (2007), British director John Crowley returns to the darkly comic vein of his debut film, Intermission (2003), with this funny and moving drama about the mysteries of the grave. An elderly stage magician (Michael Caine), despondent over the death of his wife, lands at a rundown nursing home in an English seaside town and becomes an object of curiosity to the proprietor's lonely, paranormal-obsessed son (Bill Milner from Son of Rambow). That may sound like a recipe for treacle, but the sentimentality is held in check by Caine, who rises to the occasion with a bleak, angry performance, and Crowley, who seems to share the boy?s innocent morbidity. A busy theater director, Crowley populates the nursing home with a who's who of British stage veterans (Rosemary Harris, Sylvia Syms, Leslie Phillips), and they play their comic scenes with easy precision. PG-13, 95 min.

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