If the central couple in Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy had grown old together they might have wound up as Joseph and Brenda in A Long Way Home. Writer-director Virginia Gilbert has adapted her own short story into a film that gives James Fox his most substantial role in years.
After fifty years together, Joseph (Fox) and Brenda (Brenda Fricker) have retired to southern France. They have become the old couple in a restaurant who have nothing left to say to one another. Brenda seems frail and increasingly forgetful but Joseph is still full of vitality. When they meet young holiday couple Suzanne (Natalie Dormer) and Mark (Paul Nicholls), Joseph is instantly smitten and pursues her to the point of foolishness.
Fox is very adept at conveying the subtle shift of moods in a man wearily resigned to the unvarying routine of his life but briefly persuaded that things could be very different. A radiant Natalie Dormer is equally convincing as a woman not entirely convinced that her future lies with her boyfriend.
‘BAFTA-laureate Fox and Oscar-winner Fricker provide a delightful study in chalk-cheese companionship’
The Hollywood Reporter
James Fox, Natalie Dormer, Brenda Fricker