Thursday, February 7, 2013

84 Charing Cross Road

84 Charing Cross Road (1987) - dir. David Hugh Jones
Based upon the highly popular novel and true story by Helene Hanff, the film 84 Charing Cross Road details the humorous relationship by correspondence between author Hanff and Frank Doel, a rare books buyer from London. What I love the most about this warm and adorable film is it’s intimate portrayal of mutual interest over long distances, this being the world of literature and reading.
Helene Hanff is a middle aged script writer in post war New York. The economy is booming and the future is bright, however Helene is more preoccupied with the past. For Helene is in love with the world of English literature, from Elizabethan poetry, to Chaucer, Stevenson, Hazlitt and many other seminal figures. With America preoccupied with tomorrow, there is little space for the past. This is where she forms a relationship by letter with Frank Doel of Mark’s & Co, a man whose very profession is with the procurement of works of old. 
Beyond the story I simply adored these characters who passionately describe their love for books and reading. When Helene receives her first book from Frank, it is like Carter uncovering Tutankhamen’s tomb. “The Stevenson is so fine it embarrasses my orange crate bookshelves. I’m afraid to handle such soft vellum and heavy cream-colored pages…I never knew a book could be such a joy to the touch.” This is a movie any English teacher would love, which is fitting as I had two in my family! 
If you’re looking for something light, I recommend this movie with all of my being! Especially those of you (and I know there’s a lot of ya!) who too know the joy of reading. 8.5/10


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