Saturday movie review: Finding Your Feet

In real life, a cheating husband and an estranged sister are hardly cause for warm fuzzies or fits of giggles. In the British romantic comedy FINDING YOUR FEET, though, the husband gets what he deserves, the sister holds the key to healing, and the audience reaps the uplifting reward of watching a spurned woman dance her way to a happy place she never imagined might exist.


FINDING YOUR FEET, directed by Richard Loncraine (WIMBLEDON, 5 FLIGHTS UP), stars Imelda Staunton as that particular woman, Sandra Abbott. Sandra's living the high life in Surrey, with the title of "Lady" before her name and an accomplished husband of forty years providing her title as well as all her extravagant material needs. Sandra's high and mighty attitude matches her highfalutin lifestyle. In other words, she's an uptight, judgmental snob. 

Sandra's snobbery yields no saving grace when she learns during her husband Mike's (John Sessions) retirement party that her beloved has been having a long-term affair with her best friend. With her dream life in shambles, Sandra storms off to live with her bohemian sister Bif (Celia Imrie)—whom she's not spoken to in more years than her husband's been canoodling with another.

Sandra shows no shame in spouting aloud hypercritical hatefulness about Bif's free-spirited lifestyle and her equally eccentric friends. Until, that is, she one day reluctantly accepts the invitation to join Bif in her senior dance class.

Imelda Staunton makes a magnificent snob. Her uptight Sandra packs punches she doesn't hesitate to throw to keep help and happiness at arm's length. Yet her pain at the loss of the life she loved peeks through the cracks in her armor that grow larger and larger. With each dance step—and moments with the surprisingly charming Charlie (Timothy Spall)—her defenses drop and Staunton seems physically lighter and more lovely.

Dancing is, of course, a big part of the story, and much of the fun comes from watching the seniors strut their stuff. Joanna Lumley as Jackie and David Hayman as Ted provide loads of levity to the troupe.

Scenes related to the shenanigans of Sandra's husband seemed a bit cheeky at first, as the husband was far too blasé about his philandering. As was Sandra's adult daughter about warming up to her mother's replacement.

In contrast, the interactions between the sisters are among the most poignant, even when Sandra and Bif bickered. Imrie seems the perfect laid-back big sister opposite Staunton's snobby younger sis. Their dance around one another realistically moves from guarded to considerate to devoted, making it hard to say which of Sandra's new relationships—the romantic one with Charlie or the rekindled sibling one with Bif—matters most.

Ultimately they both do, equally. Which is why the plot twist for each relationship keeps viewers watching and wondering—beginning about midway through. Up until then, the story seemed pleasantly predictable. My husband even said at one point, "Well, we know where this is going." To which I replied that sometimes predictability is comforting, especially if what you predict to happen is something you want to happen.

Then—BAM!—that plot twist neither of us saw coming increased our enjoyment and appreciation of the feel-good film.

FINDING YOUR FEET is a small film with a huge heart with themes that appeal to all ages, but particularly for those of us who've lived long and lost large—sweethearts or siblings. It's funny. It's sweet. It's silly. It's a big fat warm fuzzy with flash mobs and gads of giggles.

Staunton and Imrie discuss their sister act:

FINDING YOUR FEET (Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, brief drug use, and brief strong language) won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2018 Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film opens in select U.S. theaters March 30, 2018. 

Disclosure: I received a free screener link for this film; all opinions are my own.