Saturday 7 May 2011


Now on DVD is this sweet late-life romance starring Oscar winners Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. Watch the trailer and read my review, next...

After a chance meeting with Mary (Ellen Burstyn), grocery store worker Robert (Martin Landau) finds himself embarking on a romantic adventure he never thought he'd experience. Tired of living alone and unsure of how to act on a date, Robert seeks the advice of his co-worker Mike (Adam Scott) so as not to embarrass himself in front of his dream woman.

A veteran actor who was awarded an Oscar for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Martin Landau truly has one of the most amazing faces on screen. A rubbery, pale face with the capacity to look both sullen and cheery at the same time, topped off by a mop of unpredictable silvery hair... he really is a delight to watch. On the other side of Lovely, Still's romance we have the permanently beautiful Ellen Burstyn, herself an Oscar winner for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, but equally as memorable for her role as the mother in The Exorcist or Darren Aronofsky's addiction drama, Requiem For A Dream; a performance for which she could easily have won another Oscar.

The story of two people of pensionable age falling in love doesn't immediately seem like a film I'd enjoy (I'm not exactly the target audience), but there's a lot more to Lovely, Still than its cutesy title might suggest. Although it at first appeared to be quite a sugary tale set during an idyllic winter snowfall, this film has a hidden depth and weight to it that may surprise. There's something undeniably quite magical about the romance this film puts forward, but much like the northern lights Robert dreams of passing over him, it's in the unknown where this film has its strengths.

Lovely, Still also features Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks in supporting roles, with Scott sparring well with Landau on screen but Banks notably under used. That's a minor gripe as it's the performance of Martin Landau that demands the most attention, particularly when Robert's secrets start to reveal themselves and his surroundings start to gain more importance. Thoroughly moving at times, rookie director Nicholas Fackler was nominated for a Best First Screenplay award at the Independent Spirit Awards, so he may be one to watch for the future.

Featuring great performances from two of Hollywood's longest serving actors, Lovely, Still is a sweet and captivating romance, albeit one with the ability to shift from the adorably sweet to the unexpectedly dark. One for fans of indie romances like Before Sunrise and believers in love at first sight, the unanticipated path this film follows only serves to make the love story all the more profound.


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