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Richard Griffiths

Withnail and I: La Fin D'une E'poque



It’s (nearly) 2012! High time we made a collective admission; that is, for those of us who were there, or in my case, for those of us whose older brothers were there as the watershed moments went down___ the anti-war marches, sit-ins, Woodstock, the proto-occupy squats that regionalized for us as headlines in the Boston Globe about “hippies squatting on the Boston Common” (my brother L. “crashed” there with a group of suburban buddies addled by pot and the Beacon Street Union) and the birth of R-O-C-K ___ there is no definitive statement in any form on the madness that was 1969.

To each their own, or in the parlance of that day, whatever turns you on---I choose a film, over which more ink has been spilled since its appearance in 1986 than most Best Picture winners ever attract. To wit, Bruce Robinson’s comedy, Withnail and I., #29, on the BFI’s list of favorite British films of the 20th century. It’s a film for writers, druggies, drunks, poets, lovesick losers of all stripes, and ACTORS!!!!!!!!! It’s also about industry versus celebrity, Epicureanism versus stuffiness, the end of impossible friendships, and a near complete evocation of the spirit of an era.