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Blog by Don Kennedy

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IS ANYBODY THERE? is a coming of age film with a twist as the coming of age is not only an entry but also an exit. Edward (Bill Milner) is a mid 80’s 10 year old resentful of his parents newest vocation as it has put him out of his former bedroom. He acts out a lot because they’ve taken to offering long term care for the aging in their rural home. This is actually a mixed blessing for Edward since he has a morbid curiosity with death and the constant passing of residents gives him ample opportunity to experimentally explore the afterlife. One such passing provides a vacancy for new resident Clarence (Michael Caine) a retired magician with less than magical baggage. Clarence is slowly losing his faculties but for now is lucid most of the time and those moments are filled with resentment and remorse. With two bodies full of such venom living in  close proximity it doesn’t take them long to clash. As Clarence and Edward gradually warm to each other tensions build between Edward’s mother (Anne-Marie Duff) and father (David Morrissey) over Ena (Thelma Barlow) a hired care giver. Is Anybody There? is this spring’s midseason Midland marvel as every year about this time we get a heart warmer from somewhere in suburban Britain. Although the film has a certain charm it may not be so much a question to the afterlife as it is about the theatre audience.