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This is interesting--a short film directed by Natalie Portman. This is
actually the second short from her I have seen, as she also directed a
segment in last year's "New York I Love You".
The film begins with a rather daring into. You see bits and pieces of a
clearly elderly woman getting herself ready for the day--with makeup
and a wig. When you see that the woman with age spots and fake hair is
played by Lauren Bacall, you really have to respect her for allowing
others to see her as being older and vulnerable--something I am sure
many glamorous older stars would never allow. Thank heaven Ms. Bacall
is NOT one of these vain older ladies. And, speaking of not vain, it's
also nice to see Ben Gazzara--post-cancer and post-stroke with his
speech clearly affected. Once again, I praise these actors, Ms. Portman
and the film for being honest and not hiding old age! Too often, the
covert message in most films is that there are either no old people or
they have to be perfect or they have to be adorable--all of which are
Kate (Olivia Thirlby) drops by her grandmother's house as Grandma is
getting ready for a big date. However, Kate seems a bit
concerned--after all, these elderly people plan on doing a lot of
drinking and so she tag along. Surprisingly, she does NOT drive but
lets Joe (Gazzara) do it--for a while! Once he demonstrates he is a
menace to everyone else on the road and sidewalk (a prerequisite for
getting a drivers license here in Florida), she drives them home
Later, when they return home. Bacall does something even more
daring--and removes her makeup and you see her in all her glory--not
just bits and pieces like the beginning.
Overall, while the film hasn't got much in the way of plot, I was just
shocked that Portman can both direct and write. The combination of
great daring, fantastic and evocative music and interesting characters
make for a lovely film--one I think is better than the recent crop of
Academy Award-nominated live action shorts. Too bad this one was
overlooked. Plus, imagine a film where elderly people have normal
desires, drink too much and are simply old...and look it! And, in the
process, they aren't made fun of, made to be cute or are caricatures!
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