Starts April 5
Original language: French
Senior citizens are no longer shut away to dose off huddled in their shawls and reading religious tracts. We all know that from films like Grumpier Old Men or Herbstgold (documentary about medal-winning athletes over 80) or On Golden Pond or, quite recently, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This French film portrays five oldies: Claude, Annie and Jean, Jeanne and Albert (three men and two women, i.e., two couples and a single), who decide everyone would benefit if they lived together in a commune like the hippies that they probably were in the 1960s. They could save money and watch out for each other and ward off loneliness. Annie and Jean seem financially well off and, after some discussion, offer to share their nice house with the other three who quickly move in. Dirk is a student writing a thesis about caring for the old; they offer him the rare experience of close contact with them to widen his horizon, something surely very helpful for a successful thesis. He visits them, talks with them, together and individually, becomes their friend and lends a strong hand when needed. The film touches on most of life’s problems: love, jealously, Viagra/sex, sickness, death, loneliness, disagreements (such as whether to build a swimming pool), secrets, etc.
The film is worth your time simply because of the actors, Pierre Richard, Claude Rich, and Guy Bedos, but mostly because of Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin who play the two women. I saw the film in French with subtitles and I was so impressed with their ability to speak such perfect French – something I never would have expected (although my friends in Paris said they weren’t surprised). Fonda and Chaplin are now 75 and 68 years old respectively and made Daniel Brühl, who plays the young student, look old (he’s 34). Naturally, I was happy to see Brühl make a good impression, since I have been watching him since his acting career took off in Germany with Good Bye, Lenin in 2003. I was also impressed with his perfect French, although I know he grew up bi-lingual, speaking German and Spanish. Directed by Stéphane Robelin. Also, it’s not a myth: French really do drink a lot of wine in French movies.