Anything else will make me vomitous."
The elderly Ian (Leslie Phillips) is practically skipping with joy. His niece’s young daughter is coming to keep house for him. He envisions a dutiful girl who will cook his meals and do his laundry. What he gets is a sassy ramen noodle-slurping slacker who drinks his good Scotch and lounges on his sofa, eating crisps. So Ian spends his day keeping out of Jessie’s (Jodie Whittaker) way and trying to occupy himself so he won’t have to go back to his flat and deal with her. He begs his friend Maurice (Peter O'Toole) to help him, and Maurice is quite up for the job of occupying Jessie’s hours to give his old friend some time alone.
Maurice loves women—every part of them. So we know why he’s attracted to Jessie. But what attracts Jessie to Maurice? Like a lot of young people, she’s not overly fond of old-people smells or senile moments. But Maurice has a way of making Jessie feel valued, and she feels safe trying out her burgeoning sexuality on Maurice.
She blooms under his attention, but reality has a way of crashing their moments. While Maurice loves the idea of a woman, the mundane details of a relationship escape him. We see this when he disappoints Jessie at a high-end clothing store, and when he owns up to his past as a womanizer who left his young wife (Vanessa Redgrave) to raise three kids under six. For Maurice romance is a wonderful thing—as long as it means quoting Shakespeare or caressing an elegant neck.
Venus has many wonderful moments, especially when the two old actors and friends get together and trade barbs. Maurice and Ian meet at a restaurant several times a week to relive their glory days and complain about their infirmities. And, yes, that is Harry Potter's Uncle Dursley rounding out the trio.
Venus is one of those movie gems that don't get made too often, so don't let this one pass you by. It's pure pleasure to watch Jessie come into her own at the end.