An unconventional coming-of-age film, An Awfully Big Adventure takes its name from a line of dialogue in Peter Pan, the play staged by the acting troupe that Stella (Georgina Cates) joins. The production is an apt choice, seeing as the film is filled with characters that have not quite grown up. Stella herself is trying to find her place in the world without the guidance of her mother. Hugh Grant plays way against type as the cruel director of the troupe. His cigarette-stained, yellowed fingers and amoral behavior are attractive to Stella, who is looking for a strong figure to follow. Although Grant is flamboyant and interesting, Alan Rickman is brooding and mysterious as the older actor whom Stella ends up spending most of her time with, although there may be some uncomfortable reasons for their mutual attraction. Little more than a character study of the damaged people who make art because they need to more than because they want to, An Awfully Big Adventure may turn off those who are not willing to spend time with unpleasant people. But those with a taste for the offbeat should enjoy these idiosyncratic characters.
by Perry Seibert review