Lovely, Still is the first film by writer and director Nicholas Fackler. The movie has an embarrassment of acting riches thanks to Ellen Burstyn, Martin Landau, Elizabeth Banks and Adam Scott (Will Ferrell’s douchebag brother from Stepbrothers).
Landau is Robert Malone, a shy elderly man who is bewildered when his neighbour Mary (Burstyn) suddenly asks him out. Their romance moves along quickly and the audience is just as confused as Malone.
Why is this strange woman so interested in this lonely old man? Landau and Burstyn knock their portrayals out of the park.
I wish more filmmakers took advantage of the talent out there, rather than sticking reality TV stars in movies. Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before The Situation is in a theatre near you. I hope the world is ready for a Jersey accent in 3-D.
The plot of Lovely, Still is a cross between Memento and The Notebook. It’s romantic and fun, but there’s a dark underside to it. Most of the humour comes from Mike (Scott), the manager of the grocery store where Malone works.
There’s a great scene in which Mike employs Tony Robbins-style management techniques on a 40-year-old man applying for a stockboy position, only to have the slacker quit on the spot. Then Mike has to beg him to come back while maintaining his uber-professional persona.
But every moment of happiness is followed by a slide back into darkness. Malone starts to notice strange quirks about Mary, her furtive conversations with other people, her mysterious disappearances — and when Malone breaks down and begins to wonder if he is losing his mind, we are just as confused as him.
The Edmonton International Film Festival guide describes the film as an unexpected journey — sure, if you’re a 10-year-old child of Luddites. Even then, the kid would think, “How come that old man is always having nightmares?”
The soundtrack is beautiful but a tad oppressive. We know things will end badly right from the first dream sequence. Still, it’s a lovely journey.