Is Anybody There?

DRAMA; 1hr 34min

STARRING: Michael Caine, Bill Milner

The master’s apprentice: from left, Caine and Milner

Edward (Milner) hates his house being turned into a retirement home: to a sulkyboots 10-year-old (and in all honesty, to me as well), the resident seniors are a big old drag. Edward’s parents (Anne-Marie Duff and David Morrissey) are flat out running themselves ragged. Plus his father is chasing the help (Linzey Cocker). Which is no excuse for his fashion sense, even though it’s 1987.


It figures that Edward is obsessed with ghosts, given the prevalence of decay and death. Then retired magician Clarence (Caine) rolls in, as ageist and acerbic as all get-out and pining for the days when he was gorgeous and married. The two malcontents are a dovetailed fit and their friendship is a salve for their mutual loneliness. Too bad about the morbid surrounds.


Director John Crowley (Intermission) and writer Peter Harness labour at enlivening the musty doings with offbeat Brit humour à la 2007’s How About You. But while godsend Caine is an ornery old lion, the smiles are slim pickings and the cloying introspection rapidly gets old.