Withnail & I (1987) Review


In London 1969 two unemployed actors are fed up with the damp cold flat they are living in and decide to leave their Camden flat for a holiday in the countryside thanks to Withnail’s Uncle Monty. Nothing seems to work out for the pair as they begin to realise they are just about managing to survive.


Withnail & I is a British film that has a huge cult following and this was my first viewing of the film. While I cannot immediately say that I totally loved and adored the film, I can see this as a film that will get better with each and every viewing. So don’t worry as I do plan on watching it again!

The story and events are told from “I” who’s name we never actually hear but due to the script is Marwood. He is telling the story as it goes on and we get to know exactly how he feels in his friendship with Withnail and the sorry existence  they are now living in. What exactly is living in the sink?

They both like a drink and Withnail it seems a lot more in terms of drugs. Surely a nice holiday would sort them out, right? Totally wrong as nothing goes right from the drive to then arriving in the countryside to a house that had not been used for a long time. Having no food and no idea how to actually fend for themselves in the middle of nowhere. Not forgetting when Uncle Monty shows up in the middle of the night and has a keen interest in Marwood. Much to his horror that Withnail had actually told him that he was also gay. The countryside holiday with plenty of rain, crazy locals and farmers was not what they really had in mind. I wonder if this would put people off that type of holiday even to this day? Certainly very different to the hustle and bustle of London that is for sure.

I thought Paul McGann was outstanding in the leading role and this was shown to be even better with Richard E. Grant alongside him, given some truly amazing lines and moments to act out. I really was very impressed with Grant as well. Both appearing in their first ever film roles for this one! I thought Richard Griffiths was a total scene stealer as Uncle Monty and I was actually really pleased when he turned up at the cottage. I thought his small part was over when chasing the cat around in the house.

Some truly amazing lines were given to all of the actors which certainly makes this for a very entertaining film from start to finish. In all honesty I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one but I really felt I should join the party and eventually watch it. Pleased to say it really does have some truly great moments and some shocking ones as well. “You terrible c***” was particularly out there and yet hilarious all at the same time.

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