The funniest British film ever made in my opinion. Written almost 20 years before it was finally made by George Harrison’s Beatles funded company Hand Made Films in the 1980s.
Bruce Robinson is a great writer, and had previously had success with The Killing Fields. This, a very personal story was his first shot at directing, and it captured something, not so much its time (the end of the 60s) but the state of mind of its characters.
I grew up in the 1990s and a lot of us felt like we were Withnail or I, on the verge of something, or striving for something and worrying that it won’t work out. We also drank a lot in the 1990s and drugs were rife.
There is an absence of women in Withnail and I, but let’s face it, these two characters couldn’t have coped with the fairer sex at this point in their lives (and I has enough on with Uncle Monty).
The film was initially seen by very few people, but it has grown over the years. Robinson, despite flashes, has never got close to anything this good again. The performances, in a film about actors and failed actors are exquisite (and delicious).
This is the perfect Sunday afternoon film. Chin chin.
So, 96 films to go!
Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.