Not quite as displeasing as I'd been dreading, this is a bit of a strange one. It's another of those films which have become more frequent in recent years, one that seems to be directed at an audience of more 'senior' age.
It's being marketed as a bit of a rompish comedy but it's a tad more subtle than that. In fact the 'funny' moments are, at most, only slightly amusing. But I did detect a not unattractive poignancy in it too.
Joan Collins (whom I've not seen in a substantial role on screen since Steven Berkoff's excellent 'Decadence' of 1992) is a faded and recently widowed Hollywood star. Now with her fame and wealth behind her, she's resident in an old people's home somewhere in the south of England.
On a coach trip to the seaside she meets up with Pauline Collins (no relation), a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage (to that decades-old stalwart of stage and screen, Ronald Pickup), where she is haunted by the death of a son who drowned in infancy. The two Collins abscond from the coach and Collins J. wiles her way to get a free pass for both of them on a ferry to northern France where her recently deceased ex-lover is due to be buried, she being determined to attend the funeral. While Collins J. trades on her former glamour (though hardly anyone remembers even her name) the unglamorous Collins P. goes reluctantly along with her - amid much bickering.
Then they bump into Franco Nero, that 'phwarr' star of scores of films and for whom I at one time had the hots. (Still looking good, facially, now in his mid-70s, though his body, which we see totally unclad a couple of times, has now gone to flab, pot-bellied and lard-arsed). The Nero character, who lights up Joan C's eyes when she finds out that he's wealthy, is more interested in Collins P. much to the chagrin of her acting namesake who was hoping he'd appreciate a scintillating, one-time film star more than her near-dowdy, down-at-heels companion.
Btw: Joan Collins is not afraid to be seen without her make-up, (believed now to be approaching 84), most especially in the film's conclusion which gets unfortunately, though predictably, heavily laden with sentiment
There were interesting cross-connections in this film I noticed which others may not. The film also features Joely Richardson, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and late (gay) director, Tony Richardson. Franco Nero starred in 'Camelot' (1966) on the set of which he met Vanessa R. and they had an affair, marrying some years later. However, in this film, Nero and Joely Richardson don't share any scenes together.
Then there's a scene in a cabaret-restaurant where Joan Collins takes the microphone to warble out the song 'Who Can I Turn To?' written by her one-time husband, Anthony Newley, from his and Leslie Bricusse's musical, 'The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd'. The choice of song must, surely, have been hers.
There may have been further links which I missed, but it made the whole enterprise more interesting to me than it otherwise might have been.
This appears to be director Roger Goldby's only second feature film, most of his work to date having been for TV. He does okay with this. I thought there might have been a few jarringly embarrassing episodes as much of the humour, such as there is any, has the physical foibles of aged people as its easy target. But I hardly ever cringed, even if I did get close to it a couple of times.
A pleasant enough film, but really only one to give a very modest lift to a couple of hours.................5.
20 minutes ago