Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Director: Robert Bierman

George Orwell’s semi-autobiographical 1936 novel, which traces the ups and downs of a penniless writer in London, finally reaches the screen in an adaptation brimming with verve and gusto. Richard E. Grant, in a tailor-made role, plays hapless, idealistic poet Gordon Comstock, whose decision to leave his job in an advertising agency to concentrate on his writing leads to one comic mishap after another. As Gordon’s sensible, sweet and long-suffering girlfriend who works as a designer at the same agency, Helena Bonham Carter is the perfect foil for Grant.
Carefully reinstating much of what was originally edited out of Orwell’s novel for fear of libel and censorship suits, including satirical swipes at advertising, the London literary mafia and the more sexually explicit nature of Gordon and Rosemary’s relationship, Alan Plater’s script gives a fresh, more clearly humorous slant to the novel whilst remaining true to its time, place and atmosphere. The result is a funny and unashamedly romantic movie. Sympathetically directed by Rober Bierman (Vampire’s Kiss), with nicely understated period productin design and attractive colour cinematography, Keep the Aspidistra Flying is high quality British production at its best.

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