Oh no! The reviews for A Long Way Down are coming in and, contrary to the poster, life is not looking up for the filmmakers. I was worried that Hornby's dark comedy about four suicidal strangers wouldn't translate to the screen, especially after seeing the trailer which plays like just another silly rom com. Poor Nick Hornby, foiled again. While the film opens in the UK on March 21st, here in the states we still don't have a release date so I don't have a clue when I'll get to see this one for myself. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you get to it before I do.
For now, some thoughts from a few of the critics, with links to their full reviews. Don't forget to come back and see me and check out my Dive into A Long Way Down page.
Jessica Chaing is absolutely brutal in her review for the Playlist at IndieWire. Her kindest words - "The film is awful, but it is not unwatchable." OUCH!
Tim Robey at The Telegraph is no more complimentary in his take, calling the film "bouncy but utterly unbelievable".
There's more bad news for everyone involved at Variety where Peter Debruge called it
"worse than tacky, trivializing depression for a handful of easy laughs and pop-psychology platitudes. Euro auds might buy it, but the pic will hit the pavement hard abroad, no doubt swan-diving into VOD". DeBruge is their International critic based in London so he should know but why on earth the pic would be popular with 'Euro auds' and not the rest of the world makes no sense to me at all. Does it you?
It's not all terrible news. Andrew Pulver at the Guardian - who seems to have at least read Hornby's book - isn't quite so disgusted. He reminds us that Hornby was on as Executive Producer and therefore must have sanctioned the approach from tv writer Jack Thorne and director Chaumeil. Pulver notes there's been a "sizeable recalibration of the original story" and that "Inevitably, a good deal of the novel's intricacies have been ironed out too" and "What emerges, as orchestrated by French director Pascal Chaumeil, is a genial, lightweight farce, which largely approximates Hornby's distinctively bittersweet tone. Poots, arguably, offers the most eye-catching performance – it's the loudest, anyhow – while Brosnan is inspired casting as the blow-dried preener Sharp. Hornby fans may feel there's been too much monkeying around in the headlong rush for a neat ending; it's hard to see how else it could have been done."
And oh yeah, THR calls the film "a horrible misfire" ... I take that back; it is all terrible news.
Here's the trailer ...