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BERLINALE 2011 Special / France-UK-Belgium

Gavras takes light view of aging in Late Bloomers

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Director Julie Gavras takes a paper-light view of aging in her second film Late Bloomers [+see also:
trailer
interview: Julie Gavras
film profile
]
, in which stars William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini, with help from a smartly chosen supporting cast, prevent the film from being paper-thin as well. However, this drama will not stay long in the minds of most audiences.

Adam (Hurt) and Mary (Rossellini) are a married couple in their sixties who live in London. He’s a successful architect, she’s a retired teacher. After an episode of memory loss, Mary realizes she has to face getting old, while Adam refuses to admit he’s not young anymore.

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This disparity pulls them apart, and Adam decides to move to his office where he’s designing a new museum in London with a crew of young assistants, including attractive Maya (Arta Dobroshi of Lorna’s Silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Arta Dobroshi
interview: Jean-Pierre et Luc Dardenne
interview: Olivier Bronckart
film profile
]
). Adam is moreover obliged to build a home for the elderly for a client (Simon Callow) – another lightly ironic wink akin to the film’s title.

The couple’s grown-up children (Aidan McArdle, Kate Ashfield and Luke Treadaway) try to bring them back together, but this gets harder to do as Mary starts an affair with a younger man, and Maya easily seduces Adam.

Rossellini and Hurt enjoyably downplay their characters, while Callow, Joanna Lumley as Mary’s friend, and Doreen Mantle as Mary’s foul-mouthed mother, bring spice to the film. With the London setting and Italian and American thesps in main roles, Gavras’ film is reminiscent of her father Costa-Gavras’ work, but here those are just colourful devices, not the kind of political set-up the latter might make.

The most engaging element of the film is the dialogue that keeps it going smoothly, often attracting laughs from the audience. The colours are bright, as is the trumpet-driven score.

Co-produced by France’s Les Films du Worso, the UK’s The Bureau, and Belgium’s Be-Films and Motion Investment Group, Late Bloomers is handled internationally by Gaumont.

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