The ambitious Lucy Stanbridge (Aubrey Plaza – Happiest Season) has been running the publishing house she inherited from her father. After a series of failing YA-books and the non-stop stream of bad reviews, she’s ready to give up. That’s until she digs up an old contract with the presumed dead author, Harris Shaw (Michael Caine – Tenet), a cranky, always drunk, old man, who hasn’t released a book in decades. In that contract states, the man still owes the publishing house another novel, which could save the once successful publisher. Lucky for her, Harris is short on cash and has a manuscript ready to go. The only problem with that decades old contract: she can’t edit his work and he has to go on a promotional tour. A book tour from hell, or a way for both to face the cold hard truth?
Lina Roessler (her feature directorial debut) turns Anthony Grieco‘s script (his screenwriting debut) into a heartwarming film. Familiar beats don’t ruin the fun that’s to be had with this unlikely friendship between two complete opposites. The film itself might be a bit too long and would’ve been just fine as a standard 90 minute dramedy, but with the few twists and turns the pacing never lets down.
Plaza can’t do wrong in my book, showcasing yet another side of her acting chops as a more grounded character that’s desperate for success. Later on in the film, a glimpse of the foulmouthed, unexpected Aubrey gets her turn to shine, but above all this is another win on the ever-growing resume of the actor. Caine gets his turn to be an unlikable old drunk, which he pulls off brilliantly. When the story reaches that point of his redemption arc, we finally get a chance to sympathise with his character, with some genuine heartfelt scenes between our two leads.
Best Sellers is effortlessly touching with plenty of delightfully satisfying moments to be had.
In Australian cinemas 25 November
Reviewed November 24, 2021 (screener provided by Rialto Distribution). Rating: M. Running time: 102 min.
PRODUCTION: A Rialto Distribution release of a Wishing Tree Production & Item 7 production. Producers: Arielle Elwas, Cassian Elwes, Pierre Even, Wayne Marc Godfrey & Jonathan Vanger. Executive Producers: Hussain Amarshi, Sashi Arnold, Paul-E. Audet, Martin J. Barab, Kevin Bernhardt, Mark Damon, Adam Goldworm, Jere Hausfater, Petr Jákl & Joe Sisto.
CREW: Director: Lina Roessler. Writer: Anthony Grieco. Editing: Arthur Tarnowski. Cinematography: Claudine Sauvé. Music: Paul Leonard-Morgan.
CAST: Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza, Scott Speedman, Ellen Wong, Cary Elwes, Luc Morissette, Veronica Ferres, Frank Schorpion, Florence Situ & Linda Nourse.