Hampstead is based on a true story about a man who built a shack in the hidden confines of Hampstead Heath and lived there for 17 years. Everything changed when a woman came into his life. This sweet romantic comedy is streaming on Netflix.
Hampstead features a lovely cast. The two romantic lead roles belong to Emily (Diane Keaton) and Donald Horner (Brendan Gleeson). Behind them are an array of excellent British actors who have tiny, underdeveloped parts.
Emily’s son Philip (James Norton) is only in a few scenes. The neighbors in Emily’s apartment building are lead by Fiona (Lesley Manville). Fiona had a gaggle of minions behind her who all conflicted with what Emily wanted out of life.
Emily was in debt. Her dead husband left her in a real mess. And he was cheating on her. She threw shoes at his gravestone and cursed him. One night as Emily dug through her possessions in the attic to see what she could sell, she looked out the window with a pair of binoculars. She saw Donald bathing in the pond. She watched him make his way back to his shack.
I really love that, at 70+, Diane Keaton is a romcom superstar.
Emily started watching Donald from her attic. One day she saw a man jump him and she called the police. Then she found an excuse to start a conversation with him.
They had something special from the start. He was independent and cranky. But they liked each other. When a real estate developer (Fiona’s husband) wanted to get rid of Donald and his shack to develop the land, Emily joined in the fight to save it.
Emily recruits a neighborhood do-gooder, Erik (Hugh Skinner). Erik helped find supporters and help for Donald in his fight to stay in his shack.
Emily and Donald share some wonderful times but, like any romcom, things don’t run smoothly to the end. We do eventually reach the happy ending, the details of which I’ll leave spoiler free for you to discover.
The charm of this movie belongs to Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson and the sure knowledge that #EldersRock. Otherwise it’s a typical romcom, even though it’s based on a true story. I really love that, at 70+, Diane Keaton is a romcom superstar.
And a trailer.
This film came out in 2017 but just reached Netflix. If you take a look at it, I’d love to know what you thought of it.