Elsa & Fred
A harmless remake of a 2005 Argentinian film that I haven’t seen.
It’s as grandma-cinema as it looks.
While the film didn’t look like my kind of thing, I found enough positive to arrive at the cinema in a good mood. I fell for Shirley MacLaine in The Apartment, Marcia Gay Harden impressed the hell outta me in The Mist, I’m sure I’ve liked Christopher Plummer in things before and you don’t really see enough of SCOTT BAKULA these days – so they’ve got the cast covered. And the idea of Shirley’s character being obsessed with Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and wanting to recreate that fountain scene is kinda cool. I like it when movies exist within other movies.
After a rough start (Shirley dancing to hip-hop on her car-radio had me petrified she was going to actually try a rap of her own before the movie’s end), the movie actually reaches the ‘fine’ level. Totally watchable, and maybe even sweet, if that’s what you go in for.
Christopher Plummer is a grumpy old widow who has been moved into an apartment block by his daughter. He’s not interested in leaving the house and hates the park; he’s much happier when his grandson produces game controllers for his bag. Or reading the obituaries to “catch up on old friends”. His son-in-law (whom he likes “as much as sciatic pain”) wants $90k from him for his business making remote-find glasses. He thinks he has no need for his new caregiver and certainly doesn’t want the company of his perky neighbour (despite that neighbour being Shirley MacLaine). In contrast to him, she’s fun-loving, adventurous, bubbly, talkative, feisty and finds the truth very flexible. She is also a widow, but gets along well with her sons (a struggling artist and Scott Bakula).
It unfolded as I expected it to, only it got there much sooner than I had anticipated. Which I was totally fine with – I like a film that spends it’s time in the sun, toning down any third act conflicts. The audience I saw it with loved the giggly moments, clapped at the heartwarming bits, laughed heartily at Shirley harassing a rude receptionist and went dead silent for the tearjerky parts. So it seemed to work fine.