Elsa and Fred
If you take
Hollywood's word for it, love is a game for the young.
A few years ago was one of
the rare occasions that they made a love story about people of a certain age
who find love, with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something's Got To
Give. Even though that film was a success, they have shied away
from repeating the trend.
In other countries - where
youth is perhaps not so idolized and age is not so feared - it is a
different story. Elsa & Fred - a joint Argentine/Spanish
film - is an undeniably romantic story about the elderly, in its own quiet
Thankfully, unlike its
ruder American cousin, Elsa & Fred doesn't try to sensationalize and
sexualize the relationship. The two title characters may have had sex,
we never really know for sure, and it really doesn't matter that much.
This film is more about finding companionship and happiness in your waning
Fred is 78 years old and Elsa
is 77. (Well, at least that's what she says, she has a tendency to
tell little white lies.) He is a recent widower. She is a
long-time divorcée. He is quiet and reserved. She is loud and
boisterous. He is a hypochondriac. She is hiding a potentially
serious medical problem. He is straight and narrow. She has a
About all they have in
common is their address, advanced age and difficult, needy children.
Also, on a much more basic level, both are extremely lonely.
Fred is first rather
surprised when Elsa comes on to him strong, but he quickly grows to enjoy
the attention. Each one sees the other as a last chance at love.
Elsa has had a life-long
dream of visiting Rome to see the Trevi Fountain, where actress Anita Ekberg
waded into the water to entice Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita.
Ekberg reminds Elsa of herself as a young woman, and Fred is attracted to
her fanciful needs until the harder realities of life intrude.
Elsa & Fred
can sometimes get a little sappy, but then again, love
usually is. It is also sweet and charming. Sometimes we forget
to park our cynicism outside the theater. Elsa & Fred is trying
nothing more than to get us involved with two characters who would almost
never get noticed otherwise. Thanks to the charming lead performances,
it mostly succeeds.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: June 27, 2008.