My Uncle Silas (2001)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Rural Drama  |   Run Time - 240 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Mike Cummings

This 2000 television production presents Albert Finney as an aging rapscallion who milks life and his wine bottle bone dry, then asks for more. Though well past 60, Finney's character, a widower named Silas, effervesces with energy and mischief; he dances, sings, boxes, tells tall tales, chases skirts, and laces his tea with liquor. Silas knows that life is meant to be lived. The production presents five episodes that celebrate Silas, one leading into the other to present a unified whole. There is nothing profound in the story. Silas poaches game, dodges bullets, wallpapers a room, digs a grave, reforms a teetotaler, catches a fish with his bare hands, and charms all the ladies -- the young and the beautiful, the old and the ugly -- with his honey-dipped tongue. The story is told through the eyes of Silas' visiting ten-year-old great nephew, Edward (whom Silas dubs Ned, just because), played with innocent charm by Joe Prospero. While on a ladder leaning against a house with a thatched roof, Ned remembers a word his aunt used to describe Silas, then asks his uncle, "What's the difference between a thatcher and a lecher?" The question hangs there while Silas launches into a tale about one of his long-ago loves. By the end of his sojourn with Silas, Ned learns that life is a wondrous adventure requiring its participants to act on whim, play tricks, make fools of themselves, and, now and then, sing a soulful ditty. The production features quaint rural scenery, playful music, and a strong supporting cast playing Dickensian characters ranging from sharp-tongued prisses to gawky dunderheads.