Archie: The BRWC Review.
Archibald Alexander Leech was born in Bristol in 1906. He had a poor upbringing fraught with personal trauma as his father had his mother committed against her wishes, meaning that Archie barely knew his mother. However, Archie had a destiny and a drive that would bring him to America to get away from his abusive father and completely reinvent himself. After his career in acting took off, Archie decided to become Cary Grant.
Archie is a miniseries about Cary Grant (Jason Isaacs) and his marriage to Dyan Cannon (Laura Aikman). Serving as an executive producer alongside their daughter Jennifer and star Jason Isaacs, it tells the story of their life together partly from her perspective.
However, considering the accounts are taken from many recordings and interviews with Cary Grant and the people that knew him, it feels like it’s missing a huge chunk of his life. The story of a young man from Bristol who comes to Hollywood and becomes somebody totally different is an interesting one and is touched upon. However, it feels like the story is geared towards who he was rather than how he got there.
A shame, considering Grant’s rise to fame is just as interesting as his life, turning the focus on the later years of his career seems purely because the production involved the people who knew him then. Having been known as one of the most sophisticated and stylish men in Hollywood, the chance to see how he got there by making friends with such people as Douglas Fairbanks and Howard Hughes seems like a missed opportunity.
Isaacs plays Grant very convincingly, a very different actor from Grant himself who may have been accused of playing the same type throughout his career. However, Isaacs disappears into the role and the uncanny valley soon fades away.
Similarly, Calam Lynch plays young Archie with charm and warmth, moving from Archie’s native Bristolian to Grant’s more manufactured accent to add some levity. Something which the audience will surely warm towards.
With Isaacs perhaps not at the age where he could play Grant in the prime of his life, this could be forgiven. The story between him and his mother also adds some humanity to a man who seemingly wanted anything but to be himself. However, for those looking for a well rounded biopic then there’s certainly something missing.
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