“The Last Bus” The ultimate love story

February 16th, 2022 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““The Last Bus” The ultimate love story”

“The Last Bus” starring Timothy Spall takes us on a journey in and through time as a man attempts to fulfill a promise. Writer Joe Ainsworth and director Gillies MacKinnon deliver the ultimate love story filled with life’s treasures and regrets as Tom (Spall) treks from Northern Scotland to Southern England via bus.

We meet the youthful versions of Tom (Ben Ewing) and Mary (Natalie Mitson) decades ago, filled with hopes and dreams for their future together. That time morphs into the present as Tom, now an elderly gentleman, thoughtfully gazes out into the now abandoned raised garden that Mary once tended. Seated at a desk with pencil in hand, he traces a path on a map, carefully laying out his bus route from home to Land’s End, plotting his arrivals and departures to the second. Toting just a small weathered briefcase and dressed as a proper gentleman, he begins his adventure at a bus stop.

Meeting an eclectic array of fellow bus riders and residents in various towns and villages, Tom forges ahead along his lonely journey driven by a promise to which we are not yet privy. There are plenty of bumps and unexpected detours along the way, all of which trigger memories from both happier and more painful times. Gently and methodically, much the way Tom travels, the viewer understands Tom’s current situation and the meaning behind each and every stop he makes. We also keenly understand who Tom is as he defends others or is taken advantage of by less savory scalawags. And with these interactions, bus by bus, travelers take and post photos and videos resulting in Tom’s journey becoming a newsworthy one, and he, the unwitting subject.

The strangers he meets along the way, many of whom show kindness and love, renew our faith in humanity. And with every stop Tom makes and those he misses, our love and appreciation of him grows exponentially. His life was full, but it wasn’t perfect. By his side, his love — again, not perfect — Mary was with him. She held his hand. They danced. They loved. And they cried.

To elicit such a visceral reaction requires not only a great script and direction, but an intuitive performance. Spall is magical. Using minute nuances, he is transformed into this character. Spall understands his character from the inside out as he embraces Tom’s memories and emotions. Because of this, “The Last Bus” (the name has even more meaning than I could have imagined) is the ultimate story of love and life.

4 Stars

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