Local Hero

9 ratings (9 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
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Local Hero (1983)

Jun 2, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:charmingly eccentric characters and humor

Cons:slow pacing, story lags, abusive shrink

"Local Hero" is a gentle comedy from Scotland. There's not much in the way of action or plot. However, the script, characters and direction all have a quirky irreverence that is charming if not fully convincing.

Peter Riegert is a young executive sent to Scotland to buy a small coastal town for its oil rights. Burt Lancaster plays his boss, but he is more interested in astronomy than business. Riegert soon has a goony-eyed sidekick in Peter Capaldi, who falls in love with aptly named Marina (Jennifer Black). Riegert finds that the townsfolk, particularly proprietor Dennis Lawson, are greedily willing to sell out.

The cinematography of the seashore and ocean is attractive, and the little Scottish village is quaint. The charm of the quiet village life is contrasted with the frantic corporate lifestyle of Houston, Texas. At film's end, Riegert is obligated to return to Texas, and it clear that he does not want to go. This ending is similar to that of "Brigadoon" (1954): Gene Kelly also didn't want to leave a Scotland village for the big city in the States.

"Local Hero" has more than its share of humorous moments, which unfortunately can't be revealed without spoiling them. But other scenes don't come off as well, especially those involving Lancaster's abusive shrink (Norman Chancer). We are to believe that young and indolent Capaldi knows a dozen different languages. The charming eccentricities of the script and supporting characters can't fully hide the simplicity of the plot, which takes us nowhere slowly.

"Local Hero" was the middle of three consecutive hits for Bill Forsyth. He directed and wrote the screenplays for each of the films. "Gregory's Girl" (1981) received British Academy Award nominations for the direction and script. "Local Hero" repeated the nominations, winning Best Director. "Comfort and Joy" (1984) was also nominated for its screenplay. Forsyth then answered the call from Hollywood, and the momentum of his career hasn't been the same since. (68/100)



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