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By Jess Fenton
13th August 2017

When was the last time you audibly groaned during a movie? Either because it was too boring, too stupid, or just too damn painful to watch. Moviegoers: I give you ‘Hampstead’. Inspired by a true story, it tells the tale of the recently widowed Emily (Diane Keaton, ‘First Wives Club’) who befriends the hermit Donald (Brendan Gleeson, ‘The Guard’) and helps him defend his self-made shack on Hampstead Heath when developers come a-knocking.

This, ladies and gentleman, is what happens when good... sorry, great actors happen to bad films. To describe Diane Keaton’s Emily as a frustrating doormat of a woman is an understatement. Other than unfortunate circumstances that have befallen this character prior to the cameras rolling, we are not given a reason to like this person.


As for Mr Gleeson - we’re told he’s spent the last 17 years on the Heath with no electricity, running water, job and has contributed nothing to the society in which he lives - yet we come to learn he’s well read, socially aware, environmentally conscious and seems to occasionally enjoy the company of people while at the same time shunning them and being prone to fits of rage when a decent one shows him any kindness. He is a walking contradiction to say the least. And once again, while not hatable, we’re given no reason to like him either.

‘Hampstead’ is kinda like Britain’s answer to ‘The Castle’, but while the Kerrigans won our hearts fighting for a home instead of a house, Donald seems to be doing the opposite. He’s reluctantly fighting the system to win the right to live the way he wants and be an asshole.

Poorly written and shoddily slapped together without an ounce of genuine emotion or humour, this wet blanket snoozefest of a film couldn’t even be saved by its ridiculously talented leads. Yikes!

RELEASE DATE: 17/08/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 42m
CAST: Diane Keaton
Brendan Gleeson
James Norton
Lesley Manville
Jason Watkins
Simon Callow
Alistair Petrie
Elizabeth Conboy
DIRECTOR: Joel Hopkins
WRITER: Robert Festinger
SCORE: Stephen Warbeck
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Hampstead' on SWITCHCast 
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