Movie Review: 'The Browning Version' (1994) Albert Finney gives one of his towering, anguished-bulldog performances in THE BROWNING VERSION (Paramount, R) , an update of Terence Rattigan's play about a curmudgeonly… R Drama Albert Finney Greta Scacchi Matthew Modine Ben Silverstone
Movie Review

Movie Review: 'The Browning Version' (1994)

MPAA Rating: R
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Rated: R; Genre: Drama; With: Albert Finney and Greta Scacchi

Albert Finney gives one of his towering, anguished-bulldog performances in THE BROWNING VERSION (Paramount, R), an update of Terence Rattigan's play about a curmudgeonly British secondary-school teacher who comes to realize he's a failure. Finney is a master at letting us glimpse the bruised heart of a man like Andrew Crocker-Harris, who has used his devotion to the classics to bury his own identity. When Taplow (Ben Silverstone), the one student who appreciates him, gives him a farewell present, a lovingly inscribed version of Robert Browning's translation of Agamemnon, Finney cries — softly — like a well that's been dried up for 40 years. It's a moment to make the audience weep too. Yet Finney understands the character better than the filmmakers do. The Browning Version subjects its anemic-souled hero to one petty humiliation after another, and too many of the details aren't convincing — least of all his marriage to a sensually hungry younger woman (Greta Scacchi) who, in this day and age, would have left him long ago. Finney is great, but the tragedy of high-minded British stuffiness isn't what it used to be. B-

Originally posted Oct 21, 1994 Published in issue #245 Oct 21, 1994 Order article reprints