The Time of Their Lives – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

July 31, 2017 by Roz Tarszisz
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Like a dish described on a menu, some things don’t always live up to the promise.  A road movie with two (very) mature Englishwomen, running away from home and behaving disgracefully, plus the promise of late life romance, sounded delicious.

Determined to gate-crash the funeral of her ex lover, a film director, on the glamorous French hideaway of Ile de Re, former Hollywood sexpot Helen (Joan Collins) escapes her London retirement home with the reluctant help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins). Priscilla is married to grumpy Frank (Ronald Pickup) who treats her like a servant – in a role close to the wife she played in Shirley Valentine  – but this character has lost all her spark.

There’s a funny scene as a hijacked coach-load of geriatrics deposit the women at the ferry for France but overall there is more pathos than comedy.

Helen keeps up appearances in full make up, wig and thickly smeared lipstick, limping about with the aid of a stick. Younger but frumpy Priscilla has never gotten over the tragic death of her son decades earlier and when she sees a little boy fall in the ocean, she jumps in to save him.

That the two women are completely mis-matched  is standard for a decent road story.  Chucked in the mix is an equally aged bit of crumpet – the wealthy and famous artist Alberto (Franco Nero). He rescues them when their stolen rental car runs out of gas and takes them to Ile de Re.  Nero plays the Lothario with a hint of embarrassment.

When he tells Priscilla she has a lovely smile she says “I feel like a teenager again.”

When the dead director’s adult daughter Lucy (Noely Richardson) tells Helen that to her father “story was everything” it’s rather odd as there are more holes in the plot than a leaky row boat.

Admittedly it’s fun to see Joan back on the big screen and she still has great screen presence.  Pauline adds to her repertoire of an ordinary women waking up to the ghastly emptiness of her marriage.

The two lead performances are fine, but the story and direction end up being disappointingly pedestrian. I wanted to like this film but it didn’t satisfy my appetite.

2.5/5 Rated   2017  Rated M  104mins   Released August 10

Starring Joan Collins, Pauline Collins, Franco Nero

Director and writer Roger Corby

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