8*; Hampstead (2017)

A British Hermit not named Herman
Brendan Gleeson brings glee, son!

Diane Keaton will command any blurb for this film. She does not overact her role. In so (not?) doing she allows the brilliance of actor Brendan Gleeson to shine throughout an effort of solid storytelling.

Get to know Mr. Gleeson. Often unassuming, he acts without flash but with flair for character portrayal in manner and skill I compare to Gene Hackman.

I have stumbled into his movies like I did here in “Hampstead.” He grabbed me as “The Guard (2011),” after an introduction to his work “In Bruges (2008).” I might direct you to “In the Heart of the Sea (2015)” for a film with more action than the others; I find him enjoyable in them all.

Oh, yes: storytelling. This film has tales around Ms. Keaton’s character that entertain. They include mother-son, widow-deceased, woman-suitor, renter-landlord, found-lost. The actress is the former in each of those pairings, and Mr. Gleeson enters as the ‘lost.’

His situation plays out endearingly, with Ms. K’s character in essentially a supporting role as I see it. I am certain others would view it differently. Isn’t that a beautiful thing, that we witness the same thing on the screen yet we might all see variations?

The screenplay is inspired by the true story of the ‘Hampstead Hermit’ by Harry Hallowes. I don’t know if the book could have told the story better, but this cast depicted it very well with the help of Director Joel Hopkins, the owner of just four prior movie credits on IMDB.

*(star) rating in the title is mine; e.g. 7*=Seven Stars (maximum 10)

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