And If We All Lived Together
- Director:Stéphane Robelin
- Cast:Daniel Brühl, Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Fonda, Claude Rich, Pierre Richard
- Release Date:July 26, 2012
- Running time:96 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.00
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An incisive, poignant and resonant portrait of a demographic that too often doesn’t get a look-in.
As evidenced by the likes of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and now And If We All Lived Together, filmmakers are becoming more aware of a demographically shifting world, as these ensemble comedies centre on the elderly, and the inherent gripes of old age. As per tradition, however, the French are consistently ahead of the pack when it comes to innovative cinema, and whilst the former was a tad gimmicky, the latter carries a greater degree of poignancy and novel flair.
Five lifelong friends, acutely aware of their increasing lack of self-sufficiency, decide to move in together for convenience and company. An eclectic mix - with two couples, one constantly bickering, and the other harbouring serious illnesses, and a single lothario with a penchant for prostitutes - the quintet soon see the complications in their idealistic scheme. In a nicely original turn, the group hires a carer in the form of ethnology student, Dirk (Daniel Brühl), who is undertaking a thesis on the ageing population, an interesting narrative device bonding the audience with these "subjects" being observed.
While a hit and miss affair, And If We All Lived Together delivers a refreshingly touching consideration of the grey years. The depressing realisation of dependency that hovers across the film is handled well by the experienced cast, including the evergreen Jane Fonda in a return to French cinema. Her scenes with Brühl are among the highlights of the film, and broach a number of awkwardly taboo subjects dispelling myths of old age. Whilst some characters slowly become irksome - namely the promiscuous Claude (Claude Rich) - the film's solid foundation is the plight of Alzheimer's sufferer, Albert (Pierre Richard), whose benign countenance is simultaneously endearing and heart-wrenching. The film radiates heart, the rarest of commodities, all the way to its note-perfect finale.