The Time of Their Lives review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
The Time of Their Lives is, plainly stated – a road-trip film, similar in likes with Thelma and Louise and other intentionally-charming cinema pieces targeted towards the elderly demographic. And you can tell: the film is gleaming with deliberately sweet moments, seemingly charming developments and quirky characters…you get the overall idea. But the real question is: is The Time of Their Lives good enough to warrant a viewing? And the answer to that is, well, it depends on what you mean.
The film revolves (well, mostly anyway) around Helen and her accidental friend Pricilla (played by Joan and Pauline Collins respectively); these two unlikely companions get together mostly on the grounds of their differences, but as time goes by, they slowly start finding out how in fact similar they are.
Priscilla is charming and a generally likeable person. Unfortunately, her husband treats her unfairly and she finds herself living a physically comfortable, but mentally destitute life. And so, by incidence or chance, she stumbles upon the trip of her lifetime together with Helen.
Helen on the other hand, is still living in the past. She is a former movie star whose star has faded long ago, and now her mental image is shattered to pieces. On top of that, she’s also a narcissistic person, which doesn’t help her in the least. And thus, Helen is in constant inner battle between what she is, what she was, and what she could’ve been.
Additionally, there’s a small part assigned to none other than spaghetti western’s very own Franco Nero as Alberto. He’s quite the charming fellow and shows Priscilla what she could’ve had if she wasn’t still putting up with her husband’s bad antics towards her.
And so we have a roadtrip but for the elderly – which is where the majority of the meat of this film lies. The two leads (Joan and Pauline) have great chemistry together and this is rightly so, since the two of them have been acting for how long together now? In fact, Helen and Priscilla constantly banter on how there are no more good roles for older actors and actresses, mentioning films such as RED, Going in Style, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, to state a few. This goes for quite some time and ultimately ends up leading nowhere in particular. And so the two heroines move on by going about with their days.
Narration-wise, The Time of Their Lives is not Oscar-material, neither a razzie one. All the elements that make a good film are there, but just few are kicking. The rest of it feels somewhat disjointed, which makes me point out to the cutting room and put them to blame. Other than that, The Time of Their Lives is a genuine act of cinema suitable for anyone re-examining their lives, especially those who find themselves overwhelmed by the sands of time.