The painfully shy Vince is smitten with Joanna (Laura Fraser), a fellow clerk at the law firm where they both work for a slick boss played by David Thewlis. Her father (Stephen Fry) is a university physics professor who becomes completely engrossed in an investigation of paranormal goings-on in the Smith household: While entertaining senior citizens, Harold has unwittingly stopped a few pacemakers during a magic trick intended to freeze their wristwatches. Turns out the affable bloke has always had a gift for mind over matter, a talent kept under wraps because he's so meek and unassuming. In fact, Harold's powers are sensational, but it all goes awry when the press gets wind of the doddering octogenarians he's accidentally killed.
Working from a clever script by Ben Steiner, director Peter Hewitt captures the crazy late 1970s as a chaotic time full of promise and peril. Abandoning the Bee Gees in favor of the Buzzcocks, Vince dances to the beat of the punk movement's call for anarchy without quite understanding what it means. His heart really resides with the kindness and abracadabra that make Harold a gentle man of miracles. Starring Tom Courtenay, Michael Legge, Laura Fraser, Stephen Fry, David Thewlis, Lulu, Charlotte Roberts and Amanda Root. Directed by Peter Hewitt. Written by Ben Steiner. Produced by Ruth Jackson and David Brown. A USA release. Comedy. Rated R for language and some sexual content. Running time: 96 min.