A captious coming-of-age story set in post-war Liverpool, AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE chronicles the travails of 16-year-old Stella (Georgina Cates). An odd, introspective girl, Stella insinuates herself into a second-rate theater company so she can indulge her crush on its supercilious,
self-loathing artistic director (Hugh Grant). Based on the novel by Beryl Bainbridge, it's a dark and complex film filled with nasty nuance and cruel throwaway moments. The cast is uniformly excellent: Grant is perfectly hateful (as he needs to be), Alan Rickman is fine as an unrepentant ham (not
much of a stretch), and young Clare Woodgate -- who posed as a first-time actress named G...