Perhaps the dream of every hard-living British acting legend is to live long enough to play the role of a hard-living British acting legend and win an Oscar for it. Peter O’Toole would seem to have accomplished this with the Roger Michell–directed valentine Venus, in which he reprises virtually every endearing gesture, gaze, smile, and phrasing from each of his seven Oscar-nominated roles, from Lawrence of Arabia to My Favorite Year. Over the decades, his Maurice has sacrificed his looks, his loves, and his talent to a joyously self-destructive hedonism. Now he’s left with his aging fellow thespians and a swollen prostate and only the occasional job playing dying patriarchs in soap operas. Then he encounters Jessie (Jodie Whittaker), the Eliza Doolittle–ish deity of the title, who beguiles his impotence with her crudeness and youth, with pretty much the results you’d expect. Formulaic, but as a study of the technique and ineffable star power of one of the screen’s greatest icons, not to be missed.
On the Web
Venus's Web site:http://www.venus-themovie.com/