84, Charing Cross Road – Friendship with Depth and Love
In these days of e-books, and bland books constructed from franchised ideas and formulas, we are presented 84 Charing Cross Road, a story about a relationship begun because of a mutual love of old great books.
Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft share a film highlighting both of their genuine personas.
Like Hopkins in Shadowlands and The Remains of the Day, we see him in full glory, as a quiet man of grace and sophistication.
He owns the English bookstore, and Bancroft’s character mails him a request for a book.
Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Hopkins responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.
As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.
Like so many of today’s e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.
This isn’t a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any booklover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller’s knowledge and connection with his books.
This is a movie about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.
Note: The movie is based on Helene Hanff’s book, ’84, Charing Cross Road’.
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Are we down here? There’s nothing to see. Well, since you are here, “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains.” John Keats wrote that.