The British cult classic Withnail & I has been an odd study for me. The movie had such an incredible reputation that I thought there was no way I could not like it, but when I saw it for the first time I was puzzled. I didn’t get it.
Over the last ten years I’ve seen the film perhaps a half dozen times. I think at last I have gotten it. Or at least, I recognize it’s a great film even if only in my own very special personal way. What can be difficult for an American to get is gay jokes sustained for over half the film. But I guess that is an integral part of British humor. See my previous post about this for reference.
What makes Withnail & I great for me ten years after the first time I saw it is Richard E. Grant’s fantastic performance. He so completely embodies his character. He relishes every word, every shrug, every eye movement. It’s something to behold.