Perth Festival Reviews – Late Bloomers

Perth Festival Reviews – Late Bloomers

Architect Adam (Hurt) and his retired wife Mary (Rosselini) have been together for more than half their lives, raising three children and building a comfortable life. When both are confronted with reminders of their mortality, their time-tested relationship feels the strain. Can they get hip, get fit and keep the spark alive?

Adam is confronted by thoughts of his mortality when the successful architecture firm he has set up begins work on an aged care facility. He and his partner (Simon Cowell) have run their award-winning firm on the principle that they would take the work that others turned down as non-glamorous. Adam rebels against the new assignment and finds his attentions being distracted by a group of young architects who work for the firm, and who want to enter a design into a high profile competition.

Meanwhile Mary has a minor scare. She starts looking for ways to get fit and finds herself out of step with the lives around her. Everything she involves herself in seems to be aimed at younger people. Her friend Charlotte (Lumley) encourages her to join her seniors’ activist group The Grey Panthers, but Mary doesn’t feel this is for her. Like Adam she doesn’t feel old exactly.

As both husband and wife struggle with this awkward period, they drift apart from one another. Their trio of adult offspring attempt to intervene, dreading the thought of having divorced parents. 

Not a great deal happens in LATE BLOOMERS. This reflects the comfortable, middle class life Adam and Mary live. Almost all of their great milestones are behind them. They are struggling with self-definition. Their perception of who they were no longer fits who they are–but who are they then? 

Director Julie Gavras and her co-writer Olivier Dazat are not quite up to the task of bringing out the essential drama of their film’s potentially intriguing premise. Time again I felt moments drifted away not only unresolved, which is much of life after all, but also insufficiently explored.  I found Hurt and Rosselini an unusual choice for the leads. They’re believable enough as an old married couple, but I have always considered each actor to excel in roles that lack warmth; my assessment was not dispelled by this film.

LATE BLOOMERS is in an unusual category, one that is probably more frequently done on television; gentle comedy dramas about the autumn years like ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE or AS TIME GOES BY cover some of the same territory. Mike Leigh’s ANOTHER YEAR (2010) has a similar vibe. Audiences entertained by any of these, may well find LATE BLOOMERS is their cup tea and digestive biscuit. 

LATE BLOOMERS runs for 95 minutes. It screens at the Somerville from January 9-15 and at Joondalup Pines from January 17-22.  I rated it 2.5/5

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