Late Bloomers (2011)
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And I. Rosselini (who was present at the Berlin International Film Festival, where the movie played) makes a good team with William Hurt. Both have problems (or issues) and try to resolve them. You might feel more for one of them based on your gender, but the good thing is, that it is not too black and white. Will certainly not appeal to people who like their movies to be fast, but if you like a good drama, you could do a lot worse than this ... :o)
It's not a particularly lovable couple. That's my first impression. Nothing in the movie changed that impression. And the ending rang hollow. It felt like it came out of nowhere. I'm not sure if this was supposed to be funny. At least, I didn't get the humor. Rossellini fumbling with her pool noodles was head scratching. The movie really needs somebody with comic timing either in front or behind the camera. This movie had neither. I wish this was a better movie. The two great lead actors deserve a better movie. It just never gel. They really never got the chemistry right.
The triggering event occurred when the wife couldn't remember how she got to the hotel. Because of that she has a cat scan and the doctor gives her some vanilla advice about fitness. Pure piffle. The memory lapse seemed most unremarkable as did the doctor's advice. Just weak and silly.
What really turned me off was William Hurt's performance. In the beginning he didn't need any accent coaching because all of his lines were just short growls and grunts. In later scenes he was actually trying to do some indistinguishable and unconvincing British accent. That was too much... end of movie for me. A waste of time for both William Hurt and me.
There is a wonderful scene in this film that resumes it all and explains why the film works. The two heroes (he is a formerly famous architect, she is a formerly dedicated wife) decided to separate temporary as part of the aging crisis. They meet at the opening of the art exhibition of their younger son, one of these noisy events taking place in an over-crowded gallery with loud music that kills the reality of sounds and light effects that distorts the reality of visuals. They are far away, they can hardly see each other, they can hear nothing because of the loud music. They need not any of these, as with their looking into each other eyes and a few gestures they can tell each other what happened in the weeks or maybe months since they had separated. These weeks and months are nothing compared to the more than thirty years spent together, and no separation can cancel their love, and no words are needed to communicate.
Of course, the scene relies on the wonderful acting talents of Rossellini and Hurt. So does the whole film. Director Julie Gavras (yes, the daughter of ...) received in her hands a script that has a very Woody Allen look, with just an extra touch of sweetness or less cynicism. She decided to put apart or minimize many of the side themes or characters (like the dilemma of the architect faced with a project which maybe exceeds his own capabilities, the agonizing of the three grown-up children of the couple faced with the risk of their parents separating after a life spent together, or the secondary romantic stories which are neglected to the point of making the two characters who enter in relationships with the heroes just pawns in the action) and focus on the coming to the third age story, with all its sweet and bitter consequences. The result is pretty charming, and this is due mainly to the superb acting and to the very inspired music score. Late Bloomers is not a masterpiece, but a minor movie that succeeds to generate genuine emotion, and not only make the audience feel good. Almost unknown to the audiences, hardly distributed, ignored by critics (only five reviews mentioned by IMDb one year almost after the first screenings at the Berlin Festival!) this may prove to be one of the best ignored films of 2012.