Picks and Pans Review: My Uncle Silas
"What age are you?" a woman asks Silas (Albert Finney). "Real or in my mind?" the old rascal responds, with a look that suggests no loss of appetite for life's pleasures.
Thirty-eight years have passed since Finney played the roistering title character in Tom Jones, but he still gets that'rakish gleam in his eye. The veteran actor (Julia Roberts's boss in Erin Brockovich) couldn't be a better fit for the lead role in this ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of several H.E. Bates short stories set in the rural England of the early 1900s. Silas is a lecher, a tippler and a mischief-maker-hardly a moral exemplar to his 10-year-old nephew Edward (Joe Prospero), who has come to stay with him for the summer. Needless to say, the wide-eyed lad and his bawdy uncle get along famously through this series of five vignettes. Though not what you'd call a fine figure of a man, Silas manages to charm females of all sorts, from the overburdened wife (Anna belle Apsion) of a teetotalist hotelkeeper to an upper-class lady (Charlotte Rampling) who invites him into her bed under unlikely circumstances. There's not a great deal of meat in the script, but Finney feasts on whatever's available.
Bottom Line: Say Uncle