Sunday, June 30, 2019

Finding Your Feet: Film Review

Released February 23, 2018.
The tagline for Finding Your Feet (2017) is "Sometimes you need a push in the right direction."

However, it could have been: "Life happens when you are busy making other plans."* 

Imelda Staunton plays the lead character, Sandra Abbott, who has been the dutiful politician's wife for decades, only to learn that her reward is not the one she imagined.

She expected that all those years keeping well coiffed and keeping house and keeping civil would result in her spending her "golden years" traveling in style.

Instead, she finds herself without husband, without home, and without her "posh" (as they say in the UK) friends.

Her husband's infidelity isn't really a spoiler because the crisis that pushes her into self-examination is depicted in the trailer:

This discovery drives her to reconnect with her sister Bif, played by Celia Imrie. Bif has lived a peripatetic life and flouts convention at every opportunity. Because of their different approaches to life. Sandra and Bif set each other off.

Predictably, the film depicts Sandra examining the choices she's made during her adult years and wondering if she has missed out by being so structured. Dancing is the means by which Sandra explores how she might take a different approach to life's challenges and opportunities.

Sandra then interacts with Bif's friends--in and out of the dance hall.These friends are Charlie (Timothy Spall), Jackie (Joanna Lamley) and Ted (David Hayman).

As the film unfolds, we see some of the challenges and opportunities these characters address and their how their outlook on life, their personality, and their resources (financial or social or emotional) limit them or enable them to move forward.

In the end, Sandra realizes that she can't pin betrayal squarely on her estranged husband. Sandra does some soul searching and must decide what are her core values and what she's willing to sacrifice in order to embrace those values.

Yes, elements of the film are a little formulaic. However, it distinguishes itself by the caliber of the acting and their distinguished careers in film and theater.  It was wonderful to watch people near my age (and into the life stages I will inhabit in a decade or so). Film is a great way to run hypotheticals or to try on new ways of being. And I had a lot of opportunity to think about the whole of my life and the experiences of friends and family members addressing similar tensions.

It's a good film to show that as people age, they don't stop learning about themselves and growing into their authentic selves. Perhaps another tagline for this film could come from novelist / philosopher C. S. Lewis:
"You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream." 
*The quote near the top of this post ("Life happens when you are busy making other plans") was first penned by Allen Saunders in 1957 but made more popular by John Lennon in his 1980 song "Beautiful Boy." See this article for more details about the history of this quote between Saunders and Lennon.  


  1. I am on the look out for entertaining films and I will look for this one now. I do love C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite authors, both his novels and nonfiction like "A Grief Observed",written when his wife died and useful for all who grieve.

    1. Thanks for gesturing to C.S. Lewis' work. I've read some of his books, but not all. And even if I had, they bear rereading. Have a lovely summer. Enjoy Finding Your Feet.