Best Sellers – Film Review

Written by Anthony Grieco and directed by Lina Roessler, Best Sellers is a comedy drama film that stars Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza and co-stars Ellen Wong and Cary Elwes.

In an attempt to save her failing publishing company, Lucy Stanbridge (Aubrey Plaza) discovers that that she is owed one book by author Harris Shaw (Michael Caine) who is a reclusive alcoholic that hasn’t published a book in decades. In order to pay some outstanding bills, Harris agrees to let Lucy publish his most recent novel, but in the original contract Harris must embark on a book tour to promote the book, and in exchange he is allowed to edit his book.

Harris isn’t too thrilled about having to go on tour and he refuses to read from his book. But because of his cranky attitude, he becomes a viral sensation, although this success doesn’t result in book sales. So, Lucy has to think of a way to make people interested in buying his book, as well as trying to keep Harris out of trouble.

Despite having some crude moments this was a surprisingly heart-warming film. The story itself is basic and at times predictable, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. I loved the chemistry between Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine, and it is an absolute delight to see them on screen together and watch their relationship go through its ups and downs.

Michael Caine can play a grumpy old man really well. At times he can be frustrating as Harris Shaw, when he won’t help to promote his book. But you can’t help but feel sorry for him when he talks about his wife. As much as I enjoyed Caine‘s performance, I would have to say that for me the real star of this film is Aubrey Plaza as Lucy Stanbridge. Her characters journey from struggling to run her father’s publishing company, to then having to supervise Shaw was my favourite take away from the film. I would also like to acknowledge the performance of Ellen Wong as Lucy‘s assistant, Rachel Spence, as she has a funny moment in almost every scene that she is in.

The films bleak nature is emphasised by the weather and the colours that are shown in the film. The weather is always cold, so the characters are wearing winter clothes which are usually dark colours, which I thought was clever and well done. As someone who passionately enjoys reading and writing, I appreciated and understood the little references to books, authors and just writing in general that were contained within this film.

Best Sellers is a film that is full of heart, plenty of laughs and wonderful acting performances. There is a rumour going around that Michael Caine is retiring from acting, which is sad if its true. And while he may have some better films in his body of work, this film would be an appropriate swan song to a stellar career.

Best Sellers is currently showing across Australia as part of the British Film Festival from November to December 2021 and will have its general release in cinemas from the 25th of November 2021.
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