Set in post-World War II England, this bittersweet coming-of-age tale follows 16-year-old Stella (Georgina Cates), a star-struck lass who joins a low-rent theatre troupe led by cruel monocled director Meredith Potter (Hugh Grant). Immediately smitten with Potter, the impressionable Stella instead ends up in the bed of the company’s star, erstwhile matinee idol P.L. O’Hara (Alan Rickman) — a hopeless bounder — when Potter rejects her.
After first establishing himself as a craftsman of character-driven dramas and lighthearted romantic comedies in his native England, director Mike Newell ventured across the pond to direct several acclaimed American films, as well as a few major Hollywood blockbusters. Newell became known on British television with his acclaimed adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ “The Man in the Iron Mask” (ITC, 1977) before making his feature film debut with the graphic horror movie, “The Awakening” (1980). Having established himself within a diversity of genres, he was free to choose his own course, which eventually led to the acclaimed biographical drama, “Dance With a Stranger” (1985), and the charming romantic comedy, “Enchanted April” (1991). Newell became an international name thanks to “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994), a witty romantic comedy that helped turn Hugh Grant into a star. Taking a decidedly American turn, he directed the gritty crime drama, “Donnie Brasco” (1997), only to follow with… read more