Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Bittersweet Romp Revolves around Senior Citizen Romance
Robert Malone (Martin Landau) is an elderly gentleman working as a clerk at his local supermarket. It’s Christmas season, and the lifelong bachelor is terribly lonely, given that his house is empty, and the only present waiting under the tree is the one he wrapped for himself. Despite an amiable demeanor, the geezer’s only friends appear to be his boss, Mike (Adam Scott), his customers, his postman and others who cross his path out of daily habit.
For this reason, he is overwhelmed when a stranger walks into his home unannounced. Mary (Ellen Burstyn) politely explains that she and her daughter, Alex (Elizabeth Banks), have recently moved in across the street, and she couldn’t help but notice that he’d crashed his car into his own garage. So, she’d let herself in only to make sure he was okay. Embarrassed, Robert admits that the fender-bender was caused by an urgent need to use the bathroom.
Nonetheless, Mary makes an overture of friendship, and the old man finds himself developing a crush for the first time ever. The two agree to have dinner together at a restaurant, and Robert’s so inexperienced he has to turn to Mike and his other acquaintances for advice on everything from what to wear to how to give a compliment to when to plant a kiss. “This is my first date since my husband died,” Mary confides during the heart-melting meal, which serves as the bedrock upon which love blossoms.
This is the point of departure of Lovely, Still, a bittersweet, character-driven drama marking the writing and directorial debut of Nicholas Fackler. The modestly-scaled movie has the feel of a stage production, especially given the richness of the performances delivered by Oscar-winners Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. The film’s only flaw lies in an 11th hour, rabbit out of the hat resolution, which takes the story in a different direction which you never see coming.
A poignant primer on making the most of a last chance at romance!
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, mature themes, violence and disturbing images.
Running time: 92 Minutes