Late Bloomers sounds like a good idea: a film about growing old, treated with humor. A director with a well-known name – Gavras – and actors such as Isabella Rossellini and William Hurt. The ingredients are all there and yet the final dish is unappetizing. What has gone wrong? I saw the movie at a special showing in London, with Ms. Gavras present. The theater – Cinema Lumière, at the French Institute - was absolutely full. After ten minutes, I knew it was going to be a struggle to stay to the end. Nobody was laughing. On screen, what should have been rapier wit turned out to be blunderbuss jokes. The approach was obvious and the humor was primitive, to say the least. Isabella Rossellini is Hurt's wife. She realizes one day that they have become, well, old. And she starts a campaign to minimize the effects of old age: she has handicapped kit installed in their bathroom, she buys for her husband a telephone with large, easy to see buttons, etc. This is supposed to be very funny. Worried that the suffers minor memory losses now and then, she follows her doctor's indications and goes to water aerobics, where lots of people in a swimming pool jump up and down, following an instructor's indications. She is out of step and jumps up when everybody else is jumping down. Again, supposed to be very funny. The whole film suffers from "in your face" attempts at being funny, which it ain't. When it ended, we had been told Ms. Gavras – the director – would appear on stage to answer questions and talk about the movie. Half the audience left the theater in a hurry, including my wife and me. We talked to a few of the people leaving the place and they all told us "It was bad enough to watch the movie who wants to talk about it?". If only somebody like Woody Allen had directed this
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