A picture possessing a host of first-class pedigrees, Plenty emerges as an absorbing and fastidiously made adaptation of David Hare’s acclaimed play, but also comes off as cold and ultimately unaffecting.
Hare’s ambitious drama, first staged in London in 1978, charts the growing social malaise of Western Europe and, specifically, Great Britain, over the years following World War II. He does this through the character of Susan Traherne, a difficult, unsettled, neurotic young woman who moves from idealism to frustration and madness in her passage through a succession of bleak political and personal events.
Pic opens with Susan, played by Meryl Streep, involved in derring-do with the Resistance in France during the war. She has a brief affair with commando Sam Neill, and no man can ever displace Neill from her mind.
Personally and historically, it’s all downhill from there. Action is set principally in the British diplomatic world, and moves across a stage backdropped by post-war economic difficulties, Coronation Year, the Suez crisis and further developments in the Middle East.