THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES is a road trip comedy starring Golden Globe-winner Joan Collins, Academy Award-nominee Pauline Collins and Italian film star Franco Nero. Cineastes should be pleased to see there stars of the 70’s and 80’s now in their golden years.
Joan Collins plays a character reminiscent of one of her better known films THE BITCH while Pauline Collins one reminiscent of SHIRLEY VALENTINE.
This is a film about escaping and breaking free – and how it’s never too late to have another chance at life. Determined to gatecrash her ex-lover’s funeral on the glamorous French hideaway of Île de Ré, former Hollywood siren Helen (Joan Collins) escapes her London retirement home with the help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a repressed English housewife stuck in a dwindling marriage. Helen is not shy to remind everyone she encounters that she used to be a famous star. And she is bitchy at that and especially even more bitchy that no one remembers who she is. Priscilla, like her SHIRLEY VALENTINE (she was in both the one-woman Scottish play at London’s west-end and in the film – both of which I and seen) character is one who has spent her entire life as a housewife looking after her husband, She finally decides enough is enough and she has to take sometime for herself. The plot of that film is incorporated in Goldby’s script.
In THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES Helen and Priscilla pool their limited resources, they hit the road like a senior THELMA AND LOUISE in a race to get to Île de Ré, becoming entangled in a love triangle with a reclusive Italian millionaire, Alberto (the still dashing Franco Nero, real life husband of Vanessa Redgrave) along the way. On this journey, they find true friendship in one another – and of course, have the time of their lives.
If all this sounds exciting, the film is not. It is ridden and bogged down by cliches of similar countless films centred on old people. While it is tedious to watch a re-hash of the Shirley Valentine, Pauline Collins almost pulls it off. She is one of my and many others’ favourite actresses and she still manages to elicit sympathy, respect and admiration for a familiar character. On the other hand, Joan Collins’ Helen character is annoying and as said, bitchy.
Goldby’s script includes two subplots – one involving Helen seeking her daughter and the other Priscilla’s drowned son that gets too sentimental. The Hollywood ending is too far-fetched for credibility.
Writer/director Goldby falls into all the traps of films about senior where they think too much of their glorious past youth and think that they are always pretty enough. Worst still, these films always bring the embarrassing topic of sex into the equation. Helen and Priscilla act like teenagers most of the time, creating mischief. Both women want Antonio, just as teens want the handsome young hunk.
THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES despite having three famous older stars ends up as another old farts movie.