Is the modern age—let’s say it starts in 1969 when Withnail and I takes place—the age of hypersensitivity, or is it merely that actors are hypersensitive? The two out-of-work actors in this film seem to exhibit this trait, with, alas, happiness consistently beyond reach. They comfort themselves, however, with booze, pot and cigarettes, not so much with their friendship, though. Almost thirty, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) frustrates Marwood (Paul McGann) and probably vice versa when Marwood convinces Withnail to leave London for a while and spend time in the country. It doesn’t go well.

The film is an autobiographical one, from 1987, written and directed by Bruce Robinson, who co-starred in Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet and Truffaut’s The Story of Adele H. Very adept at dialogue, he’s a literate Brit with a literate—and witty—movie. He is pleasantly inventive and some of his film’s incidents could have gotten gross but never do. ‘Tis a deserving work.