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Annie, Jean, Claude, Albert and Jeanne have been friends for over forty years. But they are growing old and old age tends to be synonymous with reduced autonomy, loss of memory, illness, retirement home and, worst of all, separation. One day, one of the five friends suggests to say no to isolation and loneliness: what if they lived together? Written by
"Old age is a wreckage", Charles de Gaulle once said. A statement which is verified in certain cases (for instance if you have to live the very end of your life alone, weakened by illness and forsaken by others), but should not be considered unavoidable. This is at least the central thesis of this pleasant movie directed by Stéphane Robelin (his second feature after "Real Movie", 2004). One of the solutions to this difficult problem lies is the very title of the film "Et si on vivait tous ensemble ?" (What about living all together ?), in other words: join forces with friends of your age when you are old and support one another so as to make life easier and more enjoyable. This interesting theme is dealt with quite competently (and surprisingly so) by Stéphane Robelin, a director in his late thirties, more likely to take an interest in the problems adults of his age have to go through than to examine the hardships of the third and fourth ages. Young adults are not forgotten for that matter with the character of Dirk, a German ethnologist who has settled down in the Colins' house to study the community formed by the group of old friends, notably his difficult relationships with a girl companion who will not accept him as he is . But Robelin concentrates the bulk of his attention on the five old chaps and manages to tell us on the difficulties linked to old age (loss of memory, illness, sex, being cut off from one's children and grandchildren, the conditions in old people's home, the nearness of death, etc.) without falling into complacent pessimism. Instead he makes the right choice of a dynamic approach to the issue by suggesting a possible solution. And isn't it known for a fact that a light tone, just like the Spoonful of Sugar of the song helps the medicine go down, is a much more powerful ferment for thought than the spectacle of despair ? As for the way out of old age problems suggested by the film, you can find it debatable, over-optimistic, unrealistic or valid only for too limited a number of people but you cannot deny that it paves the way for fruitful discussions of a major social issue and/or self-reflection. The second strong point of the movie is undoubtedly its amazing cast. In what other French comedy indeed can you find brought together so many great international talents as in "Et si on vivait tous ensemble ?". The answer is easy : none. For those who love actors, seeing Guy Bedos, Claude Rich, Jane Fonda, Geraldine Chaplin, Pierre Richard (in one of the most poignant roles of his career) and Daniel Brühl work together is a real treat. As a conclusion, you would be well advised not to skip such a worthwhile effort. Unless you have any objection against a movie that is at the same time wonderfully well acted, intelligent, funny and moving!
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