Sun 29 Jan 2012
Late Bloomers is about aging, about coping with growing old, about getting close to the Big Six-Zero. I confess being in love with Isabella Rossellini since I realized that Ingrid Bergman had a daughter, and seeing this film I just realized that this story about people getting close to 60 and having a hard time accommodating this reality speaks to me a lot because I am also getting close to 60. So is my liking this film also a sign of age? Maybe, but then my favorite actress and his wonderful partner in this film William Hurt are also part of the same generation as I am, so we are all aging beautifully and making fun by making movies or watching movies about getting close to 60. Life is good!
There is a wonderful scene in this film that resumes it all and explains why the film works. The two heroes (he is a formerly famous architect, she is a formerly dedicated wife) decided to separate temporary as part of the aging crisis. They meet at the opening of the art exhibition of their younger son, one of these noisy events taking place in an over-crowded gallery with loud music that kills the reality of sounds and light effects that distorts the reality of visuals. They are far away, they can hardly see each other, they can hear nothing because of the loud music. They need not any of these, as with their looking into each other eyes and a few gestures they can tell each other what happened in the weeks or maybe months since they had separated. These weeks and months are nothing compared to the more than thirty years spent together, and no separation can cancel their love, and no words are needed to communicate.
Of course, the scene relies on the wonderful acting talents of Rossellini and Hurt. So does the whole film. Director Julie Gavras (yes, the daughter of …) received in her hands a script that has a very Woody Allen look, with just an extra touch of sweetness or less cynicism. She decided to put apart or minimize many of the side themes or characters (like the dilemma of the architect faced with a project which maybe exceeds his own capabilities, the agonizing of the three grown-up children of the couple faced with the risk of their parents separating after a life spent together, or the secondary romantic stories which are neglected to the point of making the two characters who enter in relationships with the heroes just pawns in the action) and focus on the coming to the third age story, with all its sweet and bitter consequences. The result is pretty charming, and this is due mainly to the superb acting and to the very inspired music score. Late Bloomers is not a masterpiece, but a minor movie that succeeds to generate genuine emotion, and not only make the audience feel good. Almost unknown to the audiences, hardly distributed, ignored by critics (only five IMDB reviews one year almost after the first screenings at the Berlin Festival!) this may prove to be one of the best ignored films of 2012.