In the new film A Long Way From Home, Joseph (James Fox) and Brenda (Brenda Fricker) have been married for more than 50 years, and are retired and living in Nimes, France.
Joseph is bored with his life (and wife), and their relationship is stale and predictable. Suzanne's biggest worry is getting a letter posted to one of their sons, while Joseph keeps getting nagged about getting the letter posted. They do the same things everyday, the have the same conversations, and they eat at the same restaurant (where Suzanne orders the same meal every night).
One evening, in that very restaurant, they are seated next to a much younger couple, Mark (Paul Nicholls), and the very lovely Suzanne (Natalie Dormer). They start chatting to the couple, and immediately Joseph is smitten with Suzanne, her cute smile, the sparkle in her eyes, bubbly personality and amazing beauty. Just her very presence makes Joseph want her. Mark and Suzanne, who are not married, are visiting Nimes for the first time, and Joseph recommends a few places that they should visit, especially some Roman ruins on the outskirts of town. The next day Joseph goes to those ruins in the hopes of running into them (especially Suzanne). He sees various couples there, but not them, and then, when he has almost given up, he sees them. Joseph, dressed up in his usual get up of a hat and linen suit, chats to them briefly before they walk off. Joseph's eyes linger on Suzanne. Over the course of the next few days, Joseph furtively tries to find them in and around the town's tourist sites, even hanging out near their hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse, and more, of Suzanne.
Both couples eventually bump into each other again at the local restaurant, and Joseph recommends a day out of town to visit a friend of his who has a winery. Mark is very excited as he is a big wine fan who wants to start up his own wine business, and accepts with much enthusiasm. The next day they head out of town for the adventure, leaving Brenda at home so that she can concentrate on writing more letters and doing the ironing. Once at the vineyard, Mark is shown around the main house by Joseph's friend, while Joseph and Suzanne stroll around the crops. With the sun fully shining on them, Joseph can't help but gaze at the gorgeous Suzanne, with the sun glistening in her hair and her flowery dress blowing around in the light wind. Joseph wants to kiss her, and it appears that Suzanne is fully aware of this, but nothing happens between them.
Joseph is fully disappointed as he feels that he missed his chance, especially after Suzanne asks him, "Does it ever get lonely for you, living out here?" And Brenda feels that something is going on with Joseph, but she doesn't want to accept the fact that Joseph, who had been suffering from depression, has suddenly become alive and happier. The next evening it is Mark and Suzanne's last night in town, so they treat Joseph and Brenda to dinner. Suzanne confides to Joseph that Mark has asked her to marry him, but she is ambivalent about it and hasn't said yes yet. This leaves Joseph to ponder what he should tell her. Can he confess to her that he has fallen in love with her before it is too late?
Fox is simply amazing as a man who cannot overcome the fact that he has fallen in love with a much younger woman. Fox, the elder statesman of the famous Fox acting family, who has been acting in films since 1950, adds another amazing performance to his belt in a career of such incredible films as The Servant (1963), Performance (1970), A Passage to India (1984), The Remains of the Day (1993), Sherlock Holmes (2009) and most recently W.E. (2011). Dormer, as Suzanne, steals the screen everytime she is on. She has the kind of face, smile and beauty that every man could fall for. Earlier this year Dormer most memorably played the nurse in the beginning of the film Rush,where she gets seduced by Chris Hemsworth. Fricker is very good as the wife who preoccupies her time with the most mundane of stuff, who at the same time instinctively knows that Joseph is having some kind of midlife crisis. Nicholls is also very good as the man who doesn't realize that Joseph covets his girlfriend.
A Long Way From Home, directed by Virginia Gilbert, is a very good, simple film that keeps your interest throughout, with amazing performances and a great storyline.