DVD: Is Anybody There? (12)

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The Independent Culture

Fed up with the predicament of living in a retirement home run by his parents, 10-year-old Edward (Bill Milner) spends his time tormenting the residents and searching for answers about the afterlife.

The arrival of the cantankerous former magician Clarence (Michael Caine) stirs Edward out of his melancholy as the pair stumble upon an unlikely companionship. The friendship is believable thanks in no small part to Caine's heart-warming performance, while set-pieces, including a jaw-dropping magic trick gone bloodily awry, help to move the film along briskly. For a film dealing with the truths of getting older and losing loved ones, this simple tale remains satisfyingly upbeat.