Day Ten: Withnail and I (March of the Movies 2022)

Another short post. Getting late and my day was rather cramped.

Copy-Pasted Synopsis

In 1969, two substance-abusing, unemployed actors retreat to the countryside for a holiday that proves disastrous.” – IMDb

Actual Short and Lazy Review

Something of an unusual selection on a part of a friend of mine, Withnail and I is a bit of a hard read. On the surface, it’s a pretty aimless, er, “buddy adventure” that features a lot of memorable moments that don’t really lead to anything. It’s like… a slice of life anime, but with two drug addicts who go out in the middle of nowhere. I was fascinated by how aloof it was.

What didn’t really register itself to me was its sort of “tragicomedy” vibe. The humor, so to speak, comes from the ridiculous situations the two leads end up in. A wild, chaotic lifestyle, skirting on the edges of annihilation and personal ruin. Had I been able to register this from the beginning, I may have enjoyed it a tad more, but alas…

The eighth Doctor, General Pryde, and Harry Potter’s uncle are drinking buddies.

Withnail and I is one of those subjects where I chalk it up to being “not my thing.” Comedy-wise, it is very dry; only a couple remarks got a smirk out of me and they’re rapid quick. For the most part, I was quite bored. Simple as that. If not for the last… twenty-five, thirty minutes, I’d say the experience was akin to watching paint dry, expecting the paint to magically change color or something.

What sticks out and makes this more tolerable, outside of a more poignant closing act, were the performances. In particular, the two Richard’s: Richard E. Grant and Richard Griffiths. These two, with considerable applause geared towards the former, pretty much carried the film for me. How dominantly they commanded the screen when they were present. I already had some respect for Grant in other films I’ve seen him in, but Griffiths was rather impressive. Kudos to both of them.

Grant (right) had that face often.

Conclusion

Most of the journey was like crossing a desert. Hot, humid, and incredibly dry. The trek was expansive and every step held considerable effort, but respite was ahead. It was no mirage, either: the ending brought my score up a whole point, bringing everything together splendidly.

Will I ever re-watch this? Probably not. At the very least, though, the final half hour managed to coat it with a warm sense of sentimentality which, amazingly, worked despite my being relatively unenthused by that point. Well done; it wasn’t a complete waste of time!

Final Score: 5/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.

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