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Old people playing old people playing old people (with a little sex).

Director: Roger Michell
Cinematography: Haris Zambarloukos
Studio info: Miramax, 95 mins.

It's clear from the get-go that Venus will end in expiration, the primary tension being of which variety. As elderly actor Maurice, Peter O'Toole drolly unleashes a lifetime's worth of lothario charms on Jessie (Jodie Whittaker), the provincial teenage niece of his best friend. Light soul-bearing and jokes about rectal examinations ensue. "I'm about to die and I don't know myself," Maurice moans, violating the show-don't-tell rule of storytelling. If he finds out much, though, he doesn't share. Besides a few Lynchian moments dedicated to the snacking habits of Whittaker's wannabe model, director Roger Michell rarely pushes far beneath the surface, notably neglecting a relationship with an underused Vanessa Redgrave (who does her best to help). Thankfully, the ensemble of genuine theater vets, including a scene-electrifying Richard Griffiths, invests Hanif Kureishi's script with poignancy. And the thoughtful British accents don't hurt, either.