Dave and his German Shepherd Tilly are taking a walk together one rainy English day when they cross paths with Fern and her little terrier Henry. Fern scolds Dave for not having Tilly on a lead despite his dog posing no threat. Problem is he doesn’t have a lead. That’s their first walk. They meet again on Walk 2, but this time Dave has brought a lead. Still Fern is not impressed as Henry continues to yap at Tilly. Dave tells her the dogs just need time and they’ll be friends. On their third encounter Dave is his usual charming self and Fern is still prickly, but indeed the dogs run off and play together and Dave insists on showing Fern around the enormous park where they walk their dogs.
It appears this will be a pretty gentle story about two seniors who are bound to become a couple, but there are skeletons in both their closets and just as walks together with their dogs become a regular occurrence, Dave drops a bombshell that throws a major spanner in the works.
Like a rambling countryside laneway, 23 Walks is full of twists and turns as we learn more about each character and the troubled pasts that make forging a future together a challenge. It’s gentle and charming but isn’t afraid to acknowledge the difficult circumstances many people face, from health issues, to marital problems, family strife and housing woes.
Dave Johns and Alison Steadman are extremely watchable as Dave and Fern, and the pair make a compelling couple when they hit it off. Almost as good to watch are the two dogs.
3 Stars – Gentle & Charming