Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft), a feisty New York writer, mails a letter to a small London bookshop requesting some rare English classics. Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins), the reserved English bookseller, answers her request, beginning a touching and humorous correspondence that spans two continents and two decades. Hanff's acerbic wit starkly contrasts Doel's aloof British demeanor, but their mutual love of books forms a bond that deepens with each passing year. Their intimate, richly detailed letters draw us into their lives as Helene and Frank share their dreams, hopes, sorrows and joys — and in doing so, develop a lasting and extraordinary friendship.
So much promise, so little content
- 84 Charing Cross Road review by RD
This has all the makings of a great film, a touching story of letters from an American writer who cannot source English books in New York to a charming old fashioned book shop in London who manage to send her the books. It covers many years after the second world war and food parcels are sent to the shop in thanks for the help.
It's touching, well acted but somehow does not develop or go into any depth of the relationships on show. Just a lot of glee on receiving each parcel, and a small insight into English family life at the time. Nothing really seems to happen that could make it into an absorbing story. Then it ends.
Beautifully filmed, and all actors are fine, but the film never quite gets off the ground owing to the poor screenplay.