Tuesday, 25 March 2008
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
It's sad to report that The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, the film that turned out to be Anthony Minghella's final directorial effort, wasn't one of his best. Not that his adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's best-seller wasn't without some charm, but overall this tale of a divorced Botswanan woman (Precious Ramatswe played by Jill Scott) who starts her own detective agency was, to quote The Guardian's Sam Wollaston, "twee, quaint, shallow and possibly patronising". I liked it marginally more than Wollaston (who admits he had the same problems with the book) but his description of it as "Heartbeat, basically, relocated to Botswana, a beautiful African country where smiley happy people, cardboard cut-out characters, go about their business with good hunour, hard work, morality and diligence" wasn't far off the mark. "Everyone will love it, of course, especially the Americans," he continued. "But it has no passion, no depth, no edge, no nothing." Disappointing indeed.