Filmc Frenzy: "Is Anybody There?

By Tatiana Craine

Michael Caine and Bill Milner star as an impeccable (if not odd) and heartwarming pair in the new film, “Is Anybody There?”. The movie follows a retired magician and a precocious young boy as they learn to reconcile both their past and their future. Milner plays a young boy obsessed with death and the afterlife since growing up in the retirement home his parents own. Caine enters the picture as a magician slowly succumbing to dementia who teaches Milner how to hold onto the joys of living-not the fear and mystery of what happens after. “Is Anybody There?” appears uplifting, poignant and funny; a film that celebrates the unexpected relationships people make along life’s sometimes rocky path. The film doesn’t have the explosions and the melodrama like most late-spring movies trying to gear audiences up for the summer blockbusters. Regardless, “Is Anybody There?” has heart. And talent.

The film boasts Caine and Milner as two actors a couple generations apart, whose acting chops blend perfectly for this movie. Some have touted Caine’s performance as the elderly magician as one of his best performances. With a resume that spans from the original “Alfie” to the original “The Italian Job,” on to Chris Nolan’s new “Batman” franchise, it’s plain to see Caine packs every performance with a wallop. His work in “Is Anybody There?” exudes a quiet, desperate power that is ideal as an ailing magician. Caine’s counterpart in the film, Milner does a great job keeping up with his elder. Milner comes fresh off his bright performance in the cheeky and endearing indie film from 2008, “Son of Rambow.” He plays a similar intelligent and incredibly curious youngster in this film, but it’s something at which Milner thrives. His spunk and cleverness add a lot to his character. Freddie Highmore, the British (and male) equivalent of Dakota Fanning, could pull off the role with the freshness and sincerity that Milner does. There is definitely something to be said for lesser known actors.

Despite the affecting tone “Is Anybody There” carries, it seems like one of the year’s most gratifying and moving films. With a quirky storyline, amazing actors and a fresh take on an old subject, this film is surely worth a look.

Opens April 17!