Most helpful positive review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Charming Movie Based on a True Story
on August 15, 2002
This is a wonderful film. No violence. No swear words. No blood and gore. Instead you have a fantastic film about post-war Britain and America and the relationship between Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) in England and Helen Hanif in America(Anne Bancroft. He works in a bookshop in Charing Cross Road in London, she is a brash New Yorker with a passion for old books. Their relationship is purely platonic, he is happily married, but their friendship blossoms and for many years Helen and Frank correspond with each other as she increases her old book collection and the Post War Countries they reside in slowly head for modern times.
The story follows the lives of Frank, the staff at the bookshop, Helen in New York and a variety of amusing incidents that will have you laughing and crying in the same breath. Anthony Hopkins is delightful as the gently pompous Frank and Anne Bancroft breathes life into her character Helen, funny, very Jewish and very tactless.
With Post-War austerity severe in Britain Helen sends American food packages to her new friends who recieve them with delight. One funny moment is when Helen realises that the owners of the bookshop Frank works in are Jewish and that she has just sent a huge ham to them! Frantically she writes to Frank, explaining though she is Jewish herself, she isn't orthodox and that she hopes his employers aren't too horrified with half a pig turning up on their doorstep! I had to chuckle at that.
This is a delightful film, and well worth buying as you can watch it again and again. The book it is based on is very good too, well worth reading as it has all the letters that went between Frank and Helen during their many years of correspondence.