Elsa y Fred (2005) Poster


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It softens the heart of anyone
pilur0073 September 2007
This movie is absolutely heart warming. Im only 19, most people my age don't give a damn about these type of movies, but a lot of my friends have seen it and have gone back not only 2 twice, but 4 times to watch it again.My dad, who is this huge motorcycle rider with tattoos and long hair cried and has seen it 5 times and his looking for an excuse to see it again...yes, its that good. My mom dragged me to see it, i got to admit i didn't want too. My thoughts were "here comes another boring movie", i was totally wrong about it! I cried like an idiot and smiled, a person said in another comment people would, he or she was right. Its a beautiful movie. Elsa is so funny and Fred is just so sweet. Guys should learn from him lol i gave it a 10, it deserves it.
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wonderful movie!
myriamob23 February 2006
What a touching movie! what great performances and what a story. Sad though but still unforgettable! Federico Luppi's scene... great as usual, he's like wine, gets better as times goes through. China Zorrilla, what can I say, I saw her previously and instantly fell in love with her. She's such a good ACTRESS (yes, with capital letters), she should be nominated for an award in the U.S., like Norma Aleandro once..... let's face it, Latin American movies are good, really good. These ones and independent movies are far better than the usual made-in-Hollywood movies, where mostly always, when you take out the special effects, nothing is left! Again, I do recommend this movie to everybody, you'll never forget it!
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It Is Never Too Late to Love
Claudio Carvalho27 March 2007
When the retired seventy-eight years old hypochondriac widower Fred (Manuel Alexandre) moves to an apartment in Madrid, his temperamental daughter Cuca (Blanca Portillo) has an incident with his next door neighbor, the elder Argentinean Elsa (China Zorrilla). Later, they meet each other and Elsa seduces Fred with her reckless behavior and view of life and they have a romance.

"Elsa y Fred" is a sensitive romance in the third age, proving that it is never too late to love, and a great homage to Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita". The simple and beautiful story is supported by magnificent performances of Manuel Alexandre and China Portillo, and an effective screenplay that appropriately blends romance, drama and humor. A dear friend of mine recommended this movie and I would like to thank her advice. In the end, there is a wonderful message of hope and love - people should live and not be afraid of dying. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Elsa & Fred - Um Amor de Paixão" ("Elsa & Fred - A Love of Passion")
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A sparkling reaffirmation of humanity and love
tfpa1005 July 2008
This is one of those jewels of filmdom that Hollywood will seldom or never produce --a shining venue for actors of "a certain age" (and not Clint Eastwood) in a romantic comedy replete with laughs, tears and profound yet light-handed treatments of human nature and national traits. The pace moves without interruption; it lags at no time, a tribute to a superb script and masterful editing. The scenes are remarkable for their realism. The acting is extraordinarily sensitive and on the mark. Watch the body language and facial expressions in funny/sad/ordinary situations. It's almost like being there, eavesdropping and peeping at this wonderful couple as their relationships bobs, weaves, dips and soars. The subtle ethnic jokes are there too ... the Telephone company retiree sporting one of the most ancient family names in Spain ... the Argentine widow (or not) displaying some of the too-clever-by-half sharpness many of her compatriots put to work to get by ... the play on letter of the apartments ("J" in Spanish as in "F" in English), etc., etc. A winner all around, worth seeing again and again. Do not miss this home run of a film.
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Opposites do attract!
Anaheim928073 August 2008
For some reason, this film reminded me of the 1979 film "A Little Romance" except it starred two senior citizens instead of two youngsters. In "A Little Romance" two young kids fall in love and runaway to Venice with the help of and old con artist. The young girl is played by Diane Lane, while the con artist is played by Laurence Olivier.

I don't know why "Elsa and Fred" took so long for this film to reach the U.S., but I finally saw it in Orange County, California, just last week. It's a warm and touching film largely due to the two main characters. Both of them (Elsa and Fred) are living alone in adjacent Madrid apartments. Fred is withdrawn and still getting used to being a widower. He is a very practical, straight-laced gentleman. In contrast, Elsa lives in a fantasy world conjured up by her dreams of someday wading in the Trevi Fountain in Rome ala Fellini's "La Dolci Vita." She a persistent liar, risk taker and bold adventuress. She gradually draws Fred out of his shell and into her world. Who says that there can't be romance after 70?!

The two actors who play Elsa and Fred are remarkable. Their dialogues and facial expressions give their characters real depth, tenderness and life. Their years as seniors gradually whither away in the film as they slowly fall in love and become "teenagers" again figuratively speaking. The theme of "Trevi Fountain" runs throughout the film from the beginning during the credits until the very end.

Yes, Americans can enjoy this foreign film. I certainly did!
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Carlos Martinez Escalona27 December 2006
Marcello, te amo! Te amo más de lo que nunca he amado a nadie... Gracias! The fountain's sound vanishes in these last words, as it happened in La Dolce Vita. That love professed and expressed is the central character of the film.

Beware: you'll find yourself crying and smiling like an idiot throughout this beautiful story.

Is there anything I'd leave out of it? Not a single word, not a single take, nor a music note. The acting is top notch. I'd rather say "heavyweight". Maybe it is just that I haven't seen such performances in a long time.

This is a film to open your heart, no matter the age, to a reality few of us like to think about. Prepare yourself for a ride of joy and happiness in a world so full of trouble.
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Unforgettable and Worth Seeing
Dora Mintz2 September 2008
If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I can guarantee it will move you in some way -- unless you're not human! lol. Of course, this film isn't for everyone and it won't be a life-changing experience but sometimes, it's good to see a film like this, especially if you're a pessimist and have no lust for life or have given up for some reason. This is the kind of story that can remind people to stop and smell the roses, to add gusto to your life, to take risks and appreciate every moment. To me, the most important aspect of this film is that it's so incredibly inspirational - for people of all ages and outlooks. I've seen many romances, foreign and American and this one is definitely on top of my list. But of course, that's me. I'm female and 50 and have a soft spot for love stories. On top of the exceptional screenplay, the cast was superb, in particular the lead actors. Anyway, see it for yourself and you'll see what I mean. You won't be disappointed.
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jpschapira1 September 2005
Talking about China Zorrilla is the same as talking about Federico Luppi. The difference, personally, is that I've seen Luppi, and been able to admire him in his work, but I haven't seen this old woman who gets better with the years; like wine. I haven't seen her at all. However, she has always been and will always be one of the biggest Argentine celebrities and best actresses of our history; and if some critics say that she is "for an Oscar" in this film, it is because she is.

I know the United States will never watch an Argentine film and consider its cast seriously, but who knows? We've had Best Foreign Film nominations in the past. At her 83 years old, and gratefully for the ones who adore her, she is able to make at least one film per year. In this year's work, she plays Elsa, the leading woman of "Elsa & Fred".

The movie's title proposes a clichéd romantic comedy, coming from the United States, like, for example, "Alex & Emma", "The prince & me", you know… The thing is it is from Argentina, and it has one element that separates it grandly from the titles I've mentioned; it comes by the side of age. Elsa and Fred (Manuel Alexandre) are really old persons, supposedly in their 70's, and they are falling in love as the youngsters are in the latter films.

It is important to say that if the movie had no image, and if the voices weren't so revealing, Elsa and Fred would be just like those youngsters. This is just because of the words they say, because of the way they speak, however their story is sad. Fred has recently lost his wife, and he is locked up in his apartment, that is just next to Elsa's. She has sons, grandsons, brothers, husbands, I don't know how many because she is a tricky woman, but director Marcos Carnevale and writing partner Marcela Guerty (writers of great Argentine shows like "22, El loco" and powerful movies like "El día que me amen") try to keep it as real as possible so we can believe we can find love again and again, no matter our age. It doesn't reach that much, though, and this and other stuff that are not worth mentioning make the film fall a little short from good.

What was amazing was to see the movie theater replete with old people; people as old as the film's main characters. And none of them was alone. What I'm trying to say is that the film achieved an objective in getting these couples to watch the movie. For their pleasure, there were lots of beautiful places in Carnevale's camera, and also incredible stars in the cast, including Roberto Carnaghi, who plays one of Elsa's sons and Federico Luppi, who appears late but amazes as always. He is just there for three minutes, three amazing minutes.

Ironically, because I said this could be an American film, the opening is undoubtedly at the level of one of those films; with beautiful breathtaking images, like in dreams, with water in the middle and blurry frames explained by Lito Vitale's unique music, in his unique language, which makes me wonder how come he never made music for films all around the world.

But in the end, it is China Zorrilla, whose mannerisms win the audiences' hearts, and whose grace is untouched, as if she was still a teenager in search of her first love.
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selffamily8 March 2009
This is a romantic movie for those who never give up hope. here we have a woman who is a bit of a rascal, meeting a timid, hen-pecked man. Both in their late 70s (officially, she lies about her age but in fact I read that both were much older when they made the film)there is a tiny flame that flickers and then burns with a gentle intensity. His daughter turns from a frantic bullying, worried out of her mind caregiver to an understanding concerned daughter. I thought that was one of the nicest aspects of the story. I loved this, and I loved the couple. She lies about everything, he about nothing and yet he embraces her and her irrationality with total acceptance. Don't we wish we could find someone like that at any age? They headed a wonderful cast, not one weak player among them. I have watched it twice, and will happily watch it again and again.
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Very good One!
lgarzam7 December 2006
Wow!... maybe the best movie I've seen in the last decade. The story is simple but full of emotions. The main actor is so good, but the old ACTRESS is lovely, amazing, funny and beautiful. No doubt this movie should be considered for the foreign movies awards, they really deserve something! I just hope that it could be translated as well as they mean all the dialogs, because this is a jewel that has to be appreciated as it is. Please, don't waste your time and go to see this wonderful film. Hope you like it as I did. The film magazine is good enough and the locations looks nice and some are fancy. The volume could be better, I just recommend that adjust the volume a little bit higher for seniors who can have a bit problems to hear the sound. This is a story full of love, compassion, emotion, sadness, but first of all, a very good sense of humor, very hard to find in this times. I bet you will love it and more if you're in your late 60's, cause it gives you a new vision of life. Women are always women!
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Everybody loves this one! But . . .
David Sligar4 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I can't help agreeing with all the other reviews, in general. It was a lovely film, funny, delightful, entertaining in the best way. But I have to point out a really grating mistake -- I can't believe it was on purpose, so I infer it was an error. Shortly after Alfredo (Fred) takes up with Elsa, his dog Bonaparte disappears. Bonaparte was the joy of Fred's life -- did he die, was he abandoned? Reminds me of the Bhagavad Gita -- where heaven is refused when the dog is not allowed in. The mistake is repeated at the end, when Fred's nearly heroic return with milk becomes irrelevant -- the kitten has disappeared. I'm going to have to watch La Dolce Vita to see if a kitten (cat?) is missing there, too.
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A brilliant film full of pathos and emotions!
eoscarz25 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Elsa is a mature Argentinian woman who lives in Madrid by herself on her flat. She has two sons, one married and another one an artist. Both of them live independently. Elsa is full of life and because she is ill she tries to make the most of every minute. She has a very optimistic outlook of life and is the sort of person who sees the glass as 'half full' instead of 'half empty'. On the same building and in a different flat moves in Fred, an elderly man whose wife died seven months ago. Due to a minor incident with the car of Fred's daughter, Elsa gets to know her new neighbour and soon develops a very tender love affair amongst these two. It has been said that Elsa had some similarities with Anita Ekberg and she always dreamt of going to La Fontana Trevi in Rome to recreate the famous scene from the 1960s film La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. But would her wish come true? This is a very funny and, at the same time, sad and emotional story. It is not often we see a romantic film where its protagonists are over 70 years old. This film was created with sophisticated taste and the music that accompanies each scene adds a great and melancholic atmosphere. China Zorrilla's performance is extraordinary and at its best in this film. She is that type of actress that touches the audience emotionally with her mannerisms, body language and technique.I remember watching a TV series with her and Marilina Ross and Arnaldo Andre(Piel Naranja) in the 1970s, where China's catching phrase was 'Mamita knows, Silhueta the Lujo' and since then she became one of my favourites actress of all times. Also commendable are the performances of the rest of the cast and particularly touching that of Manuel Alexandre. Marcos Carnevale, writer and director, has produced a masterpiece that everyone with emotions no doubt would drop a tear or two when watching his film. Highly recommended! I thoroughly enjoyed it (that is the reason why I am writing this review) and hope you will enjoy watching it too.
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A film to be treasured
Jay Harris13 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Elsa y Fred is a co-production of Argentina & Spain starring 2 actors, who have been & still are active in film & television, for many a year. They both have decades of experience & it shows on the screen,

China Zorilla from Argentina,87 years young is Elsa.

Manuel Alexandre from Spain, 92 years young is Fred.

This is their age this year, Thw film was made in 2005. In the movie they both are about 80 years. You completely ignore there ages, as they are ageless.

Fred moves into the apartment next to Elsa's they meet & course sine both are lonely, Fred is very introverted & Elso is very outgoing. They become vast friends & of course more than friends.

The director Marcos Carnevale who also co-wrote ( this very interesting love story of 2 seniors,) with Marcela Guerty did a superb job.

The film was made in Madrid with the ending done in Rome at the Trevi Fountain. In fact the never-to-be forgotten scene in OPEN CITY using the fountain is lovingly created.

This film was only shown in handful of theatres in 2008, & will definitely be on one of my best lists of the year,

For those that have Cinemax it is on this month, Also available with NETFLIX,. Do NOT miss this marvelous movie. The rating is PG,. the subject matter is a bit mature for children

Ratings **** (out of 4 ) 99 points (out of 100) IMDb 10 (out of 10)*

* I rarely if ever award 100 points to a movie, as you can see this ones is close. It is that good.
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Love is beautiful at any age.
richp-927 January 2008
I have not seen a movie in years which I have enjoyed more. I saw it yesterday in Puerto Rico where it has been showing for weeks. The theater was packed and I heard some people say that they had seen it 4 and 5 times. It is truly worth it. You will cry and laugh but you will enjoy it thoroughly. What a wonderful cast. China is delightful and so is Manuel Alexandre. I am 80 years old and of course I was completely touched by this wonderfully warm movie. I recommend it most highly to everyone. The movie did not have English subtitles and I do not know whether it has been distributed in the States. However, I am sure that English speaking audiences will enjoy it as much as Spanish speaking ones. I hope that everyone in the civilized world has an opportunity to see this film which speaks to the hearts of all humanity.
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Extraordinary Performances & A Great Script
lamarichambao24 February 2008
I must say I'm very impressed with this movie. When I read it was about an old man that meets this old woman, I thought I wasn't gonna like it. However, many people recommended so I watched it. And it was good, VERY, VERY GOOD. It has a little bit of everything, is a movie where you'll laugh and cry, the actors that play "Elsa & Fred" are simply FLAWLESS. The story is well-developed. I highly recommend it, and I will certainly have in mind next time that a movie with an old couple as the main characters can be excellent, like "Elsa & Fred" is.

Some of my favorite scenes of the movie is where Elsa is inside her car singing "Hoy puede ser un gran dia" ("Today can be a great day") by the amazing Joan Manuel Serrat. Here's the translation of the song:

Today can be a great day, think of it that way, making the most of it or wasting it... it all depends on you. Give the day to the experience of a new start, and receive it like a party that you never want to end.

Don't let your day fade, consume life completely. Today can be a great day, make it work.

Today can be a great day where everything is about to be discovered. If you live it as the last one you are ever going to live. Take your instincts and let them breathe out in the sun. And don't restrict your pleasures, make them endless if you can.

If the routine doesn't let you breathe say NO to mediocrity. Today can be a great day, give yourself an opportunity.

Today can be a great day impossible to recover, an unique thing... don't let it escape. That everything around you is there just for you. Don't look from a window, get inside of it.

Fight for what you want and don't get desperate if everything isn't okay. Today can be a great day... and tomorrow too.
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Dolce Vita scene
chivis00712 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the film this weekend and I am passionate of art movies and this one is simple touching, the story is simply amazing the performances are very realistic. A love story between to old people :) really cute, i really look forward to spend with someone the rest of my life and to be at that age and be so very much in love with that special person. The best scene for me was the one from la Dolce Vita where they are at the fountain and she says the line from the movie. it brought tears to my eyes, it was something like this(if I recall well...) "Marcelo, I have a confession to make,(then the sound of the fountain stops and few secs in black & white) U are the only man that I ever love, Thanks and they kiss"( fountain sound again) all that with good music, scenery, photography U know.....perfect moment then i almost die there, how romantic is that.... So it is a MUST see movie go and take anyone U know and enjoy a master piece of art ;)
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Kirpianuscus5 February 2017
it is one of the basic fruits after you see this lovely film. special romantic comedy, it is more a refuge in the heart of lost, delicate, amusing, polite , lost world. a story of love. and two great actors. long time after the end credits, the image, the voice, the gestures of China Zorrilla are present. Manuel Alexandre seems be the only possible Fred. the jokes, the dialogues, the irony, the build of a relation who seems, at the first sigh, silly and insignificant, the romanticism who conquers new flavors, all does Elsa and Fred an adorable gem. small things and an age who seems be to late and too heavy. and, against all, a new beginning. superb, full of youth nuances, wise in a not ordinary manner, out of rules and social expectations. a film who must see again. for the unique state of comfort. and for an useful dose of hope, joy and perspective about life ( and love) as miracle.
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more than beautiful
Armand26 April 2015
a love story. like many others. but profound different. not only for the age of the lead characters. not for the nuances of performances or for the script or for beautiful images. but only for the actors. or, maybe, only for the admirable presence of China Zorrilla. she is a real surprise for each viewer who knows almost nothing about Argentinian cinema. because she has the splendid gift to transform the joy of acting in an useful and powerful , too, tool for transform the public's state. the grace for translate the emotions and expectations and fragility and the dialogs of teenager to a couple of old people is more than impressive- it could seems be magic. and that fact is the secret of this special film.
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Wonderful and original.
MartinHafer1 January 2015
I just finished watching Elsa & Fred and really, really enjoyed myself. However, at the same time I wonder just how many folks will go and see this neat little movie. After all, it's about two very old and rather strange people who find love in their final years...and this sort of thing isn't exactly box office gold. Most romance pictures today involve very young, very beautiful people and not people in their 80s! Frankly...I'm a bit tired of those typical love stories. Some recent films like "Something's Gotta Give", "The Face of Love" and "Elsa & Fred" have all explore relationships with folks who are neither taut, tanned nor twenty-something and I say more power to 'em!

Alfredo is an old widower who has lived a very orderly and unexciting life. His daughter arranges for him to move to a new apartment and his rock-solid retirement plans are upset due to his eccentric neighbor, Elsa. Unlike Alfredo, she is vivacious and full of life--and loves to make up lies about the fantastic life she's led. To put it bluntly, she's a bit of a wacko....but a fun wacko. And, they soon decide to throw caution to the wind and enjoy their final days together.

While the ending is a bit of a downer (I gotta be honest about this), I thoroughly enjoyed the film because these two quirky characters seemed so unlike the people you normally see in movies. They are not walking clichés but older people who have needs, desires and dreams--and who refuse to grow old gracefully! Plummer and MacLaine are simply terrific and it also didn't hurt that they had a very strong supporting cast--which is surprising considering that this is a relatively low-budget film. But, despite the budget, it really doesn't skimp on anything and really delivers. Plus, it made me smile...and not enough movies do that.

By the way, a new American version was just released starring Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine. It's a bit different (Fred is MUCH crankier and the segment in Rome is only talked about AFTER the fact--you don't see them in Rome) but just about as good. Both are terrific and fun.
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Seen in Spanish Film Fest(manila)2006
vei ortiz4 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There are tons of topic about love etc ...but with this one I was greatly moved by the love between old couple. Personally I envy the lovers in the story thinking can I found one love so true? (though Elsa is a frequent lier). The story is simple based on "living" through life with much gusto (ala lust for life). That we should live with knowledge that we all die sooner or later. That we should not waste it. Am not good at technical aspects of film viewing but I find this film moving. And find the wrinkles true! The slow pace of characters real. And the comedy apt for the scenes. I admit that there are few films that made my tears fall...I am including this one.
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It has been time to get to be young
magullon19 August 2007
If summary treated to do, could to say that film "Elsa & Fred" counts history of two people that finds way to bear anguishes and sufferings of a whole life to hills for, in last stage of his lives, perhaps when they could think that already everything was defined, to be able to allow the luxury to enjoy in fullness of the adventure of the love. These few lines absolutely that define the argument of the film of Marcos director Carnevale - a Co-production Spanish-Argentinean, although do not need the truth, are very far from explaining or to draw a little at least what happens. In fact, the distance is infinite that separates that concise synthesis of which the film is in fact. The difference is as great as the one that separates a dense film, foreseeable and stereotyped of other than it surprises in each passage, that is let flow with harmony and overflows of freshness, philosophy and the good humor. The technical and narrative solidity of the film, the ability of Carnevale to be able to be present absenting itself, for example, when always locating the camera in the right point, without letting to him never take too much protagonism. The balance and intelligence whereupon the script compose the personages and raise the evolution of history, treating to avoid the temptation of the fall in the common places. The overwhelming work of the actors, the Spanish Manuel Alexandre and Uruguayan China Zorrilla (in of its better papers). Through these four fundamental factors, the film is allowed to rest in its external structure and to forget in this way her, generating the frame ideal so that in screen it arises what nothing has to do with the material, and everything with the cinema. Because Elsa and Fred, together, are pure chemistry and magic, and become partners of a dream that crosses the screen. They two single ones are able to defy any prejudiced spectator (who watches with suspicions that of a history of love between greater people) to than rises of their armchair and she retires of the cinema if he is able to become bored or to get annoyed although it is a minute. Perhaps the greater virtues of history that devised the producer Carnevale next to Lily Ann Martin and Marcela Guerty have to do with fierceness to approach a very repeated subject cinematographically, and with the capacity to please construct to turns in the rate and the freshness of the narration, without never losing of Vista the basic parameters of probability that do to the plot. The personage who Zorrilla incarnates skillfully is decisive so that the tape can take a way different from which perhaps could beforehand wait for-. Su Elsa it is pure energy, freedom, spontaneous, cleverness, joy to live. Their wrinkled body and a few pains are not sufficient to hide a contagious overflowed spirit of youth. Fred, however, has had routine a singsong life and. Load with himself the lost sadness of having not long ago its woman, than loved woman, loved more companion. When the chance crosses to the protagonists, because they are neighboring, Elsa is thrown upon Fred, looks for it, almost practically harasses it. It has decided to bet his cards to be able to pass it or with that quiet and honest man who so or falls to him. Each encounter, each exit, each dialogue between Elsa and Fred, does not have waste. The film is advancing and by all means, as it does, the conflicts and the dramatic load of history gain more space. Nevertheless, the luminous and fresh essence of the film stays until the end. In this it has much to do the coherence in the elections and decisions that the script for the resolution takes from the plot. The film does not have to make an effort to sweeten nor to diminish the end: simply, the closing is natural consequence of flowing previous. Elsa and Fred manage to show that the love between people of the third age is able to involve the passion, to the eroticism, the dreams. They do not need to deny its oldness to obtain it, much less to request last youth. Without falling in stereotypes, the film is maintained with solidity in the idea that never it is behind schedule for the love; as it maintains the motto that says the film, an appointment of the Spanish Pablo Picasso, "has been time to get to be young". Basically, the personages live and enjoy so much as they can of the love who can live. In this sense, the main merit of the film is the firmness with which the producer faces his boarding the treated subject. If by on all the things something Elsa and Fred obtain, that is to demonstrate and to make think that the love has own organization in the oldness: it is not an exclusive subject of the young people.
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Fantastic, charming and memorable
grlewycky12 July 2008
This movie was like a combination of Harry met Sally and Waking Ned Devine....

It has Love and humor, showing your never too old !!!

China Zorrilla steals the movie......she is wild, crazy, zany and unpredictable...and a lot of trouble ! I hope her other movies are like this....anyone else seen her previous movies....please tell us which ones to see.....

I loved the scene when they were at the restaurant. Its priceless... Her driving, faces, and acts of innocence are priceless.

Its on cable but without subtitles for now...have to wait for the DVD I guess

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