Golden Years, 2016.
Directed by John Miller.
starring Phillip David, Bernard Hill, Simon Callow, Alun Armstrong, Una Stubbs, Virginia McKenna, Sue Johnston, Brad Moore.
Retired couple Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha (Virginia McKenna) Goode refuse to fade into old age and take the loss of their pension lying down. Instead they slip unseen into a life of crime in order to correct the injustices they have been dealt. When their local bowling and social club is put at risk they bring their friends in on the secret in order to pull off their biggest job yet.
Retirement traditionally brings with it relaxation, caravans, gardening and a membership to The National Trust. This was the case for Arthur and Martha Goode, enjoying socialising at the local Bowling and Social Club and falling asleep in front of the TV. When Arthur attends a meeting at the bank he is informed that his pension is going for a burton. It is no more. Kaput. This has the unfortunate effect of making paying for Martha’s crohn’s disease treatment impossible.
Pushed to desperation Arthur formulates a plan to rob a bank. When it inadvertently works Arthur gets away with £50k. When Martha finds out she unexpectedly approves and they embark on a bank robbing spree, which then leads them to include their friends and plan the biggest job of their retirement, despite the somewhat bumbling efforts of Detective Stringer (Brad Moore, who is also an executive producer) and the slightly less bumbling Syd (Alun Armstrong).
Golden Years is a fun, easy watch that plays into the recent silver haired cinema trend that has followed The Best Marigold Hotel. Whilst it lacks some of the style and elegance of those films, Golden Years still retains some British charm that makes it appealing. It also focuses on a relevant issue of how the country, and the government, treat the older generations that have spent their lives paying into a system that is now set to screw them over. Although it is told with comedy, it is a real issue that needs to be addressed and brought further into public awareness.
A strong cast provide this film with the heart it displays. The writing leaves a little to be desired, with some lines being very on the nose and lacking certain nuances. The plot itself is simple yet it does hold the audience’s attention and the direction is strong, despite certain performances feeling somewhat forced. The majority of the characters are well-developed, yet a couple appear a little cartoonish which is does not seem to fit the subtle British comedy that the film seems to rest on, though not to the extent that it detracts from the back bone of the film.
Golden Years may not be the strongest film that has emerged from the wave of retirement comedies, however it is a pleasant watch that brings with it smiles and warmth. Strong performances from the main cast over ride the scripting issues and the instances of inappropriate characters. If you liked The Best Marigold Hotel and Quartet and fancy something easy, this is right up your suburban street.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
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