Withnail and I

Withnail and I

Travis DeSimone.


This morning I woke up at a crude hour. Nearly seven AM and I had an impassable gap between then and ten thirty. With nothing to do and no way I could return to my sleeping, I did something I had planned on doing for a while. I got down to brass tacks and watched the 1987 film by Bruce Robinson ( Director of the Johnny Depp film The Rum Diary. ) Withnail and I. Maybe not the most uplifting film to watch before class, but decidedly brilliant.

Richard E. Grant and Paul McGann play the titular characters of the film. The year is 1969, Withnail and Marwood are two unemployable actors living in a flat together in London. Both are extreme alcoholics that live in destitution. Unable to find work in a rough economic time and disenfranchised from living in the city among upstanding people, they decide to go sober up and stay at a cabin in the country owned by Withnail’s uncle Monty.

This may sound like a sob story, but it is rather more a black comedy. Withnail and Marwood’s personal interactions seem sincere, but there is an air of deception between them. They are hostile constantly, sleeping little, and drinking much. They have a great chemistry, that by the end of the film, I was missing. If nothing else it could be said to be a period piece of the Bohemian 1960’s.

A poignant picture of abusive friendship. A great laugh. A good cry. I would recommend Withnail and I to any one who loves a comedy as black as midnight.  To any one feeling a bit sad. Although I will say that you probably should not watch it first thing in the morning.


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