Last Orders


Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31

Critic Reviews

  1. 40
    The temporal jumps between the present and varying points in the past deprive the film of a sense of completeness; the transitions from scene to scene are largely disorienting, leaving you struggling to find your bearings.
  2. 100
    It's like Chekhov with a British accent.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Richly textured, beautifully acted.
  4. 88
    Too many films about the dead involve mourning, and too few involve laughter. Yet at lucky funerals there is a desire to remember the good times.
  5. A movie I loved on first sight and, even more important, love in remembrance. Taken all in all, there's only one last thing to say about it. Go.
  6. Good performances by a distinguished cast don't quite overcome the weaknesses of the disappointing screenplay.
  7. The storytelling may be ordinary, but the cast is one of those all-star reunions.
  8. 70
    A friend called Fred Schepisi's ensemble drama "a crusty old white man's 'Joy Luck Club'" -- an assessment that isn't without some kernel of truth.
  9. 90
    Superbly adapted by Fred Schepisi from the Booker Prize-winning novel by Graham Swift, Last Orders pays quietly passionate tribute to the unsung working-class generation that fought World War II and survived to take up apparently humdrum lives.
  10. Gathering its forces slowly, this careful, thoughtful film, quietly but deeply moving, is dramatic without seeming to be.
  11. 75
    It's a warm, skillful excavation of what look like ordinary lives, ones that aren't so simple once you dig a little deeper.
  12. The film's biggest strength is the same characteristic that may cause people to underrate it: that the group of friends we watch onscreen feel not like England's greatest actors showing off, but rather a group of friends who have indeed known each other for years through life's little triumphs and large tragedies.
  13. New York Daily News
    Reviewed by: Jack Mathews
    It is remarkably, unsentimentally dramatized by Fred Schepisi, courtesy of the pitch-perfect performances of its ensemble British cast.
  14. The lifelong friends in Fred Schepisi's marvelous Last Orders actually seem like lifelong friends.
  15. 50
    A ho-hum male weepie/road comedy that's worth watching mostly because of a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of England's greatest working-class actors.
  16. A superb film that begins with death, ends in renewal, and finds almost as much to laugh about as to cry for.
  17. 90
    A funny and touching film that is gorgeously acted by a British cast to rival Gosford Park's.
  18. 100
    Unassuming masterpiece about life, love and the cruel joke of old age.
  19. The actors do their best, particularly the impeccable Mirren, but Schepisi draws a shroud of chaste dullness over their scenes and lays on an energy- sapping score.
  20. The stars ultimately carry the day, the film cumulatively builds both an emotional power and tender wisdom that's very affecting.
  21. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Shows the dying tremors of a generation, and you might feel as if you can see every molecule, every atom give up the ghost.
  22. 100
    Like finding that perfect stage of moderate drunkenness in which the senses are sharpened rather than dulled, and time passes with leisurely grace.
  23. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Never quite shrugs off its literary manners. [18 & 25 Feb 2002, p. 200]
  24. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Wry humor and even a certain sexiness break through the reserve of a rueful, realistic, but finally emotionally rewarding film.
  25. 80
    Given the number of characters involved and the fact that the film flashes back and forth over a 40-year period, the film flows beautifully, thanks in large part to excellent casting and Kate Williams's fluid editing.
  26. Reviewed by: David Stratton
    Delicately handled and superbly textured, this fine adaptation of Graham Swift's Booker Prize-winning novel deals with all the really big subjects: love, friendship, death, life.
  27. The carload of codgers in Fred Schepisi's Last Orders merely bellyache, philosophize, crack unfunny jokes, and ruminate simplemindedly about Death.
  28. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    If truth be told, the film is less than the sum of its parts; the main problem is the fragmented narrative structure, a legacy of the literary source. Still, it's a joy to see men and women with dense life stories played by powerful actors with long and distinguished careers.
  29. The movie's pace is unhurried by Hollywood standards, but it's all the richer in character detail.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jul 5, 2012
    I found this movie based loosely on the book Family Linen. It is a good story remembering their departed friend as they carry out his lastI found this movie based loosely on the book Family Linen. It is a good story remembering their departed friend as they carry out his last wish. During the travel to disperse the ashes, each remember different times with him and his wife/children. In this time there is discovery of flings and unintended regrets. Very heavy in dialog but a good story. Full Review »