Michael Caine (old), Bill Milner (young), Anne-Marie Duff (tired), David Morrissey (mullet), Leslie Phillips (crude), Thelma Barlow (Coronation Street)
What’s it about?
Caine is Clarence, a depressed, old ex-magician with Alzheimer's who hates that he’s nearing death and resents being moved to an old people’s home. During his stay he meets Edward (Bill Milner), the son of the couple who own the home, who is obsessed with death, ghosts, the paranormal and anything vaguely related to the afterlife. Clarence and Edward form an unlikely friendship, and find each other inspiring and infuriating in equal measure.
What’s good about it?
76-year-old Michael Caine is a miracle and does an incredible job as a bitter, cantankerous old bastard who feels like he’s wasted the best years of his life by not pouring enough love on his dead wife. 14-year-old Bill Milner (of Son of Rambow fame) is also superb, and the bringing together of the oldest and youngest strands of British acting talent works better than anyone could have expected. Aside from the two leads, Leslie Philip’s pissed, crude pensioner is hilarious and David Morrissey’s overweight, middle-aged man with a mullet is the archetypal dissatisfied ’80s male. The film does a good job of tackling ghosts and death with resorting to religion or Clairvoyance.
What’s bad about it?
Not a lot. It is about death, though, which might put some people off. But it’s not morbid, and is more about the struggle that young minds have coming to terms with the reality that death is part of life. FHM can remember lying in bed aged 10 crying for our Mum because we were scared shitless that one day we’d die, disappear forever and no one would remember us. 15 years later, Is Anybody There? made everything better.
Caine’s old-age acting CV is impressive (see: Children of Men, The Dark Knight) and continues to thrive, as does his weird habit of playing magicians (see: The Prestige). Bill Milner, providing he moves away from his innocent schoolboy roles (which he surely will), will be a huge star. Is Anybody There? proves that talent, not age, will ultimately define successful acting careers.