Fanny and Elvis (1999)

running time: 111 mins
Distributor: UIP

Ray Winstone and Kerry Fox

written by Kay Mellor
directed by Kay Mellor

To see the trailer, click here (you need free RealVideo to view this)

Check out the official Fanny and Elvis website here.

Click here to buy this from Sendit

Listen to some Ray sounds from the film as wav files (thanks to Bev): ' sorry', 'love me tender', 'I love ya', 'high class', 'Hello Gorgeous', 'curry', 'come here', 'baby'.

Sandra Hebron writes the following review in the London Film Festival 1999 Brochure:

Fanny and Elvis is a warm and witty romantic comedy set in the North of England at the end of the millennium. Writer Kate has finally completed her debut novel, but her exhilaration dips when a trip to the doctor reveals that she is running out of time to get pregnant. Realising she will have to rethink her priorities, her situation worsens when her husband Rob leaves her for a younger woman and she is faced not only with heartache but with a biological clock ticking even louder. She and her gay lodger-cum-best-friend hatch plans and scheme, but neither matchmaking nor medical intervention provide a solution, until chance and coincidence throw Kate into close proximity with Dave, the ex of Rob's new girlfriend. But, feminist though she is, Kate still has romantic dreams, and the flashy, macho car-dealer seems unlikely to fulfil them - though his happy band of kids from earlier relationships prove that at least his sperm count is up to the job.

This directorial debut from writer Kay Mellor (best known for her tv dramas Band of Gold and Playing the Field) sees Kerry Fox and Ray Winstone playing delightfully opposite each other, with the latter confirming his status as one of our most versatile screen actors. A definite crowd-pleaser, Fanny and Elvis will have you humming along with Dusty and Elvis on the soundtrack and leaving the cinema with a huge smile on your face.

Neil Norman reviews the film in the London Evening Standard:

For anyone who thinks that Winstone is restricted to playing gangsters or abusive husbands and fathers, his performance in this romantic comedy will be a revelation. Kay Mellor's script may trawl every cliche in the book of Northern Mills & Boonishness but it's the performances that make the film wonderfully watchable. Fox is a struggling, childless novelist, whose husband leaves her just as her biological clock is counting down. With time and money running out, she takes in a lodger (Winstone), who just happens to be the former boyfriend of her ex-husband's new squeeze. Will this mismatched pair set aside their differences and find true love? A cuddly teddy bear of a movie and a definite crowd-pleaser.

Alexander Walker in the London Evening Standard says:

"Winstone adds another feather to his acting cap. Soon he'll be able to fly just by nodding his head up and down".

Another review from Blockbuster video magazine 'The Scene', May 2000:

"Written and directed by Kay Mellor (the mind behind the hit television series Band of Gold), and more than ably following in the footsteps of recent British hits like Notting Hill, Fanny and Elvis is a romantic comedy set just before the turn of the millennium. In it we follow the fortunes of thirty-something Kate (Kerry Fox), a Yorkshire lass and aspiring Barbara Cartland whose biological clock, her doctor tells her, is ticking at an alarming rate and she better do something about it.

The answer to her problems? Why, make babies, and quickly, of course. Unfortunately for Kate, though, her university lecturer husband (David Morrissey) decides that this is the perfect moment to tell her he's fallen in love with another woman, Samantha (Gaynor Faye), and is going to leave her. There follows a twisted, tortuous time for Kate, who then decides to take in lodger Dave (Ray Winstone), who's a brash and arrogant car dealer who just happens to also be Samantha's estranged husband. Kate and Dave are completely unsuited to each other, naturally, but it transpires that love can be found in situations even more unlikely than those of Kate's slushy novels....

Fresh from deserved acclaim for starring roles in harrowing films like Nil By Mouth and The War Zone, tough guy actor Ray Winstone makes a welcome departure with Fanny and Elvis. He stamps his authority on his leading role though, giving a typically believable performance and swapping jibes with Kerry Fox with as much relish as he swapped punches in Scum. Together he and Fox work up their romantic friction into a veritable froth before the film reaches a heart-warming and moving climax.

FINAL VERDICT: Movie debut director Kay Mellor treats her ill-starred couple with teasing sympathy as they slip and slide down the bumpy road of love, and her nice touches of surrealism taken from Kate's airy imagination, together with two fine lead performances, help make Fanny and Elvis an uplifting experience that will have the most cynical bursting out of their bodices".

And my thoughts after the Gala Screening of the film in the London Film Festival on Wednesday 10 November 1999:

I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic comedy, although it is undemanding and pretty cliched. It was such a delight to see Ray playing a character I could actually warm to! When he did love scenes we were able to enjoy them instead of worrying that he was raping, beating or molesting somebody...

After the gala screening, Ray and the other cast members and the writer/directory Kay 'Band of Gold' Mellor, came up onto the stage for a quick question and answer session. Ray was wearing a long gray coat, no beard, hair quite dark. He said hi to his wife and kids who were there and he hadn't seen for a while (presumably because he's been filming The Next Jimmy Grimble) and answered a couple of questions. One was about West Ham football club and how badly they are doing at the moment, and one was about whether he enjoyed playing a romantic hero after his hard-man roles. His reply to the latter was "I'd much rather kiss them - wouldn't you?".

The film will be getting a UK release on 19 November, despite the fact that its climax features the millennium celebrations, but I do recommend it. It's set entirely in the picturesque town of Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire and the production is beautifully designed. And in general the film is very sweet, and heart-warming. The characters are likeable and they all live happily ever after... - Alys

Dave Ray Winstone
Kate Kerry Fox
Andrew Ben Daniels
Rob David Morrissey
Roanna Jennifer Saunders

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