Based on a novel by George Orwell, this satiric comedy concerns Gordon Comstock (Richard E. Grant), an advertising copywriter who fancies himself a poet. While Gordon has published a small volume of his verse that received faint words of praise in the press ("promising" was the most enthusiastic adjective used, in a review that turned out to be written by his publisher), he is convinced that literary greatness lurks deep within him. Deciding that he should begin living the bohemian lifestyle that is the mark of a true artist, Gordon quits his job, even though his friends think he's gone daft and even his publisher Ravelston (Julian Wadham) believes that he's being rash. Gordon's girlfriend Rosemary (Helena Bonham Carter) thinks he's being a bit silly but stands by him, even though Gordon's voluntary descent into poverty has a dire impact on their sex life; Gordon's new digs in a cheap boarding house offer little privacy, thanks to his prying landlady (Liz Smith), and Rosemary lacks Gordon's enthusiasm for love in the great outdoors. Desperate for money, Gordon takes a job in a used book shop (where he sees his own book marked down to three pence...with no takers), and he is forced to rethink his new lifestyle when he learns that one of his increasingly rare sexual assignations with Rosemary has left her pregnant. Originally titled Keep the Aspidistra Flying after Orwell's novel, this film was more widely distributed as A Merry War; it also briefly played under the title Comstock and Rosemary.
~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide