Second Best (Movie - 1994)

Genre: Drama; Starring: Chris Cleary Miles, William Hurt; Director: Chris Menges; Author: David Cook; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: Warner Bros.

David Cook’s novel-turned-screenplay is fraught with strangled emotions: A middle-aged bachelor postmaster (William Hurt) in a small Welsh village, whose early experiences as an unwanted only child have constricted his adult life, adopts an 11-year-old boy (Chris Cleary Miles) whose father is in jail and whose own psychological health has been wrecked at a tiny age. Chris Menges (A World Apart) directs with delicacy — considering the plot is thick with unspoken feelings and the script is thick with dialogue more suited to the page than to the screen. Hurt (Why is he in the middle of a Welsh village?), in an odd reddish coif and bachelor-geek eyeglasses, turns in a studiously sensitive performance thick with Acting Technique; 11-year-old Miles, on the other hand, with no previous acting experience, is a natural. B-

Originally posted October 14 1994 — 12:00 AM EDT

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