Smells like old bittersweet eggnog – Lovely Still

This film is a small affair with some great actors. It’s unusual as having the main characters in this love story as a couple who have had free bus passes for quite some time. But the way their love develops with all its little hiccups and misunderstandings and excitement could be played at any age. Martin landau is outstanding showing his years of experience in front of the camera and Ellen Burstyn is radiant in every scene.

With the approach of Christmas causing him to feel lonely in life and love, Robert Malone (Martin Landau) braves the wintry snow to arrive home from his job at the grocery store only to find a stranger (Ellen Burstyn) standing in his home. What begins as an odd and awkward encounter quickly blossoms into a romantic love affair.

Martin Landau’s well-weathered face is an amazing array of the ravages of time and character. It is both shocking and comforting to see such elderly features in an American film. Ellen Burstyn (Mary) is mesmerising and full of girlish excitement whenever she is around Robert. It is all very charming as we watch the first date nerves that mirror any set up you might have seen in a teenage rom-com and it is an unbearably sweet love story.

It’s nice to have the focus on the older characters and Elizabeth Banks as Alex, Mary’s daughter, is only a bit player here. Adam Scott as Robert’s manager Mike is a wonderful aside with his harebrained pyramid selling schemes and unorthodox interviewing techniques.

But it is all about Landau and Burstyn, they dazzle and they are effortless – this is what great acting is all about

A sweet script from writer/director Nicholas Fackler is also a brave choice – thank god for indie sensibilities in the US. The use of the Christmas setting makes it all the more poignant and the lights and decorations are used to great effect; glowing and warming whenever some emotional peak is reached and dimming accordingly when necessary.

This film is a commemoration to love and its power over us whether old or young and it is incredibly moving and has some very funny moments. The film takes a devastating and unexpected turn at the end that may leave some of you disappointed but isn’t that just like life? All in all it makes you think, it hurts but it makes you smile and it is well worth your time to rent out this little gem on a Sunday afternoon

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