Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 124 minutes

A corrosively funny, semiautobiographical account by writer-director Bruce Robinson (How to Get Ahead in Advertising) about a couple of destitute roommates, young actors living in drunken squalor in 1969, the twilight days of swingin' London. Withnail (the astounding Richard E. Grant in a definitive performance) is a kind of depraved, modern-day Oscar Wilde, but without the money or the manners. The "I" of the title is the younger and more impressionable Marwood (Paul McGann), who stands somewhat in awe of his scandalous, demented, hysterical pal. While on a miserable holiday in the bitterly cold and damp countryside, they stay with wealthy, corpulent "Uncle Monty" (Richard Griffiths), who takes quite a liking to young Marwood, much to his consternation. Though not well known in the United States, Withnail & I has a major cult following in England. It's uproariously funny in a peculiarly British way, and the acting is absolutely scintillating. (Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert said Griffiths's was the best performance by an actor in a British film since Denholm Elliott in A Room with a View.) This one's a real treat for the caustic at heart. --Jim Emerson

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