Hampstead is a movie inspired by the life of Henry “Harry” Hallowes, a guy who lived his life the way he wanted. It stars Diane Keaton as Emily Walters and Brendan Gleeson as Donald Horner.
The movie starts with the radio talking about a housing crisis and a woman (Emily) in her bed is just waking up. It’s raining outside and water is dripping into the apartment. So, what does she do? Takes her potted plant and places it directly under the dripping roof. Problem solved!
First food moment
The first food moment occurs at the reception. The receptionist is busing eating a pastry and watching something that turns out to be porn from the sounds coming out of the speaker. The woman asks for her mail. The mail is from the tax man and signifies the Emily’s money problems after she was left in debt.
Second food moment
Next food moment happens to be apples. An older guy (Donald) is using a kite to get apples high up on a tree. Turns out he has been living in the land for seventeen years – with no title. And his shack happens to be an eyesore and the source of conflict in the movie. Developers have been eying the land for awhile and plotting ways to get the man out.
On his way home, he goes to buy a roll and a dog grabs it. But the man finally manages to get it back.
Third food moment
A group of women are having a meeting and one of them is trying to convince her friends to get behind a plan to get rid of the eyesore. It turns out that her husband is behind the new plan to get luxury houses in the land with the shack.
Another food moment
A guy visits Donald with an eviction notice. And the older guy harvests a carrot and uses the paper to wrap it and gives it to the guy. This signals the older guy’s middle finger to the developers and the community who would like to evict him.
In the course of the movie, Emily happens to be using her binoculars to look outside when she witnesses a crime committed on the older guy. She calls an ambulance. And the next day, she ‘runs’ into the older guy and explains she didn’t start by saying she’s the one that called for help because she didn’t want to sound like a stalker. The guy asks her just how she happened to see him. Oh her embarrassment!
And yet another one…
Donald guy asks Emily to lunch and it turns out that he fishes for his food. Instead of setting the fish free, he puts a shoe into the water instead. In the end, he uses his simple life to explain to the court that he causes less damage to the environment than the lawyers trying to get him evicted and his wins the case and gets the title. But he ends up giving up the place in exchange for his shack. He and the lady sail down the river in the shack which happens to now be able to float. And they live happily ever after. Yay!
All in all, I’d say this Hampstead movie is a depiction of the housing crisis that happens in real life. So many people are evicted from their land for one reason or another. And it is saddening the extent that people would go to make profit or get something that doesn’t belong to them.
On the other hand, some clever ‘squatters’ have learnt to stay in lands that don’t belong to them knowing full well that if they stay there for some years, the court system will award them the land.