The Time of Their Lives
Joan Collins, Pauline Collins, Franco Nero
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The strength of the film is Dame Joan Collins who plays to type wonderfully, encapsulating perfectly someone who longs for their glory days and refuses to give up without a fight.
The US may have the Red franchise and Last Vegas, but when it comes to taking full advantage of the ‘grey pound’ market, the British seem to have it all sewn up. Films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Golden Years and Hampstead have served up, with varying success, an alternative to youth focused cinema.
The Time of Their Lives, written and directed by Roger Goldby, sees two OAPs, played by Joan Collins and Pauline Collins, thrown together by chance and jettisoned off to the beautiful French countryside. Joan C plays a once successful actress long since banished to a retirement home, whilst Pauline C inhabits a mousy housewife whose marriage has never recovered from the death of their eldest. Once over the Channel, the two become involved with an Italian artist, played by the original Django himself, Franco Nero. Cue themes of coming to terms with aging and grabbing firmly onto the chance of a second life.
Fluffy and friendly from the offset, The Time of Their Lives is anchored down by a pedestrian presentation from Goldby, who has had a long career serving the trenches of tea time telly from Death in Paradise to Call the Midwife. It’s a shame when a director can’t seem to find the beats in their own work, and he often has scenes set up for a raucous laugh or sombre tempo which fall without making a sound. Additionally, it’s hard to shake the feeling that as a housewife escaping a loveless marriage into the arms of a foreign lover, Pauline Collins has done all this before with Shirley Valentine.
The strength of the film is Dame Joan Collins who plays to type wonderfully, encapsulating perfectly someone who longs for their glory days and refuses to give up without a fight. Every scene she’s in never fails to raise a wry smile, and she throws out a surprising emotional punch in the final act.
Needing a bit more energy all round, The Time of Their Lives would do better to follow the example of one of its aforementioned protagonists by demonstrating that one never needs to grow old gracefully.