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The Time of Their Lives
IMDB rating:
Roger Goldby
Scott Michael Wagstaff as Passport Officer
Latoya Lees as Checkout Girl
Claire De Belloy as Little Boy's Mother
Matilda Shapland as Eleanor
Tom Mulheron as Eric
Allene Quincy as Ileana
Wayne Cater as Coach Driver
Pauline Collins as Priscilla
Joan Collins as Helen
Franco Nero as Alberto
Ronald Pickup as Frank
Storyline: Determined to gatecrash her ex-lover's funeral on glamorous French hideaway Ile-de-Re, former Hollywood siren Helen (Joan Collins) escapes her London retirement home with the help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a repressed English housewife stuck in a bad marriage. Pooling their limited resources, they hit the road together by coach, ferry, car and foot in a race to get to the funeral on time, becoming entangled in a love triangle with a reclusive Italian millionaire (Franco Nero) along the way. On this unforgettable journey, they find true friendship in one another - and have the time of their lives.
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A journey that loses its way
In this Roger Goldby (Cutting It, The Waiting Room) written and directed film, Joan Collins (TVs Dynasty, Empire of the Ants) stars as former Hollywood siren Helen and Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine, TVs Mount Pleasant) as unhappily married Priscilla, who embark upon a trip to France for Helen's ex-lovers funeral. Priscilla meets Helen on the anniversary of her son's death when she goes shopping with her controlling husband Frank (Ronald Pickup: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lolita) and Helen, who is about to embark on a retirement home trip to the seaside, commandeers her to help with her bags. As Priscilla is a fan she helps Helen and boards the coach with her bags, but gets stranded on it when it sets off with her, leaving her seething husband behind.

Narcissistic kleptomaniac Helen convinces Priscilla to accompany her on the trip to France where they meet Italian artist Alberto (Franco Nero: Django, Django Unchained), who begins to woo Priscilla, much to Helen's chagrin, and she starts to see what her life could have been like.

The film tries to be a cross between a funny road trip, like an OAP Thelma and Louise, and a serious journey of self discovery, similar to Shirley Valentine, but as it falls between the two camps it ends up being a lacklustre buddy movie with an unbelievable storyline. It felt like the plot and theme lost its way several times and some aspects, like the brilliant acting turn by Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, TVs Nip/Tuck) as Lucy for example, were wasted as it went nowhere.

It has some touching moments, particularly when Priscilla and Alberto connect, and there were some moments of humour that weren't into the realm of ludicrous, but sadly it was not the comedy expected from the trailer nor the emotional journey it probably was trying to be.

I am aware that I am younger than the audience it is aimed at, and those of the right age who remember Franco Nero at the height of his fame, such as my friend Karen, enjoyed the film, so if you fall into this category you should give it a try. But my friend and I were disappointed that it was so disjointed.
Heart-wearming story
Joan Collins is back and she has wonderful scenes. There are no aliens nor guns just two old ladies who came together with some sad and some funny moments. And there is just more than it looks on the beginning.

Camera work and scenery are wonderful.

For the younger CGI and X-Men-whatever generation it might be slow and possible boring but I would call it as a wonderful heart wearming old school movie. And Joan Collins (wellknow as Alexis Carrington Colby from the 80s super hit "Dynasty") is portraying wonderful a old Hollywood diva.

Fazit: personally I loved it
Think of your Granny and her friend on a road trip. It's sweet, sad and funny. Worth seeing.
This is a really sweet film. It's like the OAP version of Thelma and Louise.

The film revolves around Helen and Pricilla, played by Joan and Pauline Collins.

Helen is a narcissistic former film star, who was huge back in the 1960's, but since then she's been forgotten, all after she fell apart, and disappeared from the public eye, some years ago. She hasn't accepted the fact that it's over for her, even though when we first meet her, she is being taken out for a trip from an old people's home.

Priscilla's very Mumsie. She is just a likable person. Sadly, her husband treats her like crap, and she is living an albeit comfortable, yet miserable life. She accidentally gets caught up in the old people's trip, and our story begins.

There is also the small, yet memorable part of Alberto, played by Franco Nero. Alberto is an Italian artist who the girls stumble upon, he is kind, and affectionate, and he shows Priscilla just what she might be missing in life.

The chemistry between Joan and Pauline Collins is great, they bounce off each other and each and every interaction feel natural, but what else would you expect from two women who have been acting for over 100 years between them?

There's a lot of talk about how older actors, and especially older actresses, don't get a lot of work anymore. Often because few good parts are written for them. Films like RED, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the soon to be released Going in Style, should show studio execs that older actors still have something special to offer. No, scrap that, not 'still have', they have something that younger actors don't have, decades of experience. Why would we waste it? It makes no sense.

Back to our film.

Our two friends travel to France to attend the funeral of the director who cast Helen in her first big film role. Along their journey, they discover a few things both about each other, and about themselves. There is a very serious undertone that runs through this film, it has a sadness, that comes with loss, a loss we all feel at some point in our lives. Yet, it still manages to laugh, at itself, at the situation it finds itself in, at life. I've always felt that this is the best way to deal with pain and adversity, so I appreciate the message that this film puts across.

In the loosest sense, this is a road movie, and a charming one at that, with in fact very little time actually spent on the road, but it's hard to describe it as much else. It's a story of self-discovery, and although it may not be perfect, it's well worth a watch.
Joan is still great
Who would think a road trip movie in France with 2 elderly actresses would turn out to be quite interesting and unexpected in the direction things take. An unhappily married woman with a nasty husband and a former movie star setting off to a funeral of a director in France end up together on a trip in Brittany - Ile de Re. The scenery is interesting - not as beautiful as the South of France but watchable for it being unfamiliar.

It's refreshing to see different older actresses in this kind of roles. A nice change from Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. Joan Collins has an expressive face and manages to convey comedy and emotion well. Some actresses her age have too much botox and can't show any expression at all. Pauline Collins isn't as well preserved but she is perfect for her role. Franco Nero plays an Italian artist and love interest.

Worth a watch.
The lives and outcomes of two very different women
This film tells the story of a nice old woman in an unhappy marriage, who bumps into a former film star. She is coerced into a trip to France by the film star.

The two women have very different personalities and very different hearts. One is nice, helpful but carries a burden in her heart. The other is a selfish and manipulative woman who will use everyone around her. Different things happen to them, and it's refreshing to have a reminder that nice things happen to nice people. The scenery is nice and the weather is beautiful too. There are many things to like about this film. It is worth a watch.
Pensioners Behaving Badly
An emotional comedy starring Joan Collins, who was the unlike-able, selfish, has-been diva and Pauline Collins, the downtrodden and long suffering wife. The two leads developed an interesting chemistry.

The 'diva' intended to go to her ex-lover's funeral in France where she suspects lots of film directors will also be attending. Her ulterior motive was to hopefully restart her film career. The downtrodden housewife finds herself accidentally on the same coach-trip as the 'diva', this mishap isn't too much of an issue as she's unhappy and just wants to 'run away' from her domineering husband, who has been harbouring a very long term grudge.

The film tries to be funny with a serious foundation, but becomes a ludicrous buddy road trip with some predictable humour.

Not a bad film, but not a great film either and Shirley Valentine this is definitely NOT.
The time that people kept looking at their watches
A narcissistic wooden has-been trying to drum up more work in circumstances that could hardly be less appropriate- surprising that Joan would dare this as it invites comparison with her real-life career (!)

The film looks as if it has been filmed on a shoestring and could have been written by just about anybody to be frank- there was precious little wit or warmth about it. If it was meant to be about either character confronting their own demons in an escapist context, it missed the mark in profundity.

Curiously a fellow viewer kept looking at their watch, and every time I saw the time on it I wondered how the film had been filling the time as little seemed to have happened.

The lack of expression in Joan was a concern, confusing me as to whether it was due to senescence, plastic surgery or unabashed laziness. A missed opportunity to be sure, but I can imagine Joan eating a takeaway for less than this cost to make. When the paparazzi aren't watching, obviously.
An uneven road trip, but also a pleasant one
The cast was an appetising one, and who doesn't enjoy a film with a mix of comedy, drama and road-trip? Does 'The Time of Their Lives' fully live up its potential? No. Is it a bad film? Not to me. Could it have been better? Of course. It is an uneven film, but is a pleasant way to pass the time and there is nothing offensive about it.

It has plenty of reasons as to why people will like it. It is also not too hard to see why people would not. It is a long way from perfect. It is corny in places. It is clichéd too. And parts of the story are implausible, with a few absurd plot twists. Didn't mind so much that the story is pretty slight, but not every scene comes off with a contrived scene where the characters get stoned and a too dragged out ending.

Also wouldn't have minded a little more comedy, the film is certainly not devoid of laughs and they are not bad in quality at all but there were instances where the seriousness could have been toned down and more balanced.

However, there is a lot to like. Really liked the performances. Pauline Collins brings the right amount of vulnerability to her role, and as a character that is the complete opposite the glamorous and as ever looking younger than her 84 years Joan Collins throws herself into it with abandon. The two have a lovely natural chemistry, essential for making the film work.

Franco Nero balances comedy, drama and charm effortlessly and Joely Richardson is really quite wonderful.

'The Time of Their Lives' is a nice-looking film. Very picturesque locations and beautifully shot. The soundtrack is infectious and the direction allows the two leads and their chemistry to properly shine to the forefront and handles the different tones well.

While the script and story could have been more consistent, it is very uplifting and heart-warming while taking it seriously, reminiscent of a mix of 'Thelma and Louise' and 'Shirley Valentine'. 'The Time of Their Lives' may be corny, clichéd and implausible but these negative qualities are also balanced out well with more positive attributes. There are parts that are genuinely funny, the chemistry between Joan and Pauline sees sweet moments without being saccharine and some of it is surprisingly moving.

Overall, uneven but pleasant. 7/10 Bethany Cox
Wooden and lacklustre
21 March 2017 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester this afternoon - The Time of Their Lives. Starring Joan Collins and Pauline Collins as Helen and Priscilla, two women who couldn't be more different, they end up together on a bus on a day trip to the beach which culminates in them both ending up in France. Billed as a female buddy movie, this was a lot more mundane, these two characters were not really buddies, just two ageing women drawn together by the desperateness of their lives, one a Hollywood actress whose star is definitely on the wane, the other an unappreciated housewife haunted by memories of the past. What ensued should have been funnier, should have been more emotional but in reality the acting was wooden and slightly uncomfortable to watch. Take Joan Collins out of the equation and I felt I was watching a modern remake of Paulines Collins' big hit Shirley Valentine. It was a pleasant enough way to spend a couple of hours but that's about it.
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