AND IF WE ALL LIVED TOGETHER (Stéphane Robelin). 96 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (August 17). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
It was Bette Davis who said, "Getting old is not for sissies," and this story of five long-time friends trying to cope with life's changes shows exactly what she meant.
Jeanne (Jane Fonda) is hiding the extent of her cancer from her husband, Albert (Pierre Richard), who's slipping away into Alzheimer's. Meanwhile, lefty Claude (Claude Rich), living with his stylish wife, Annie (Geraldine Chaplin), is furious when the cops won't arrest him during a demo because he's too old.
When ladies' man Jean (Guy Bedos) has a heart attack while visiting a sex worker and his son puts him in a retirement home, he's rescued by his four pals, who decide the five should move in together to help each other out.
The story doesn't work without a fabulous house in suburban Paris - Claude and Annie's, in this case - and it can be hard to empathize with this bourgeois quintet while they sip wine on the glorious grounds.
But that's presumably writer/director Stéphane Robelin's point. Got money? You're still gonna die.
Famous farceur Richard is superb as the man losing his memory, growing more and more disoriented and dishevelled as he secretly maintains his notebook. And Fonda has just the right touch as the woman, still with a lust for life, who connects with the young anthropologist (Daniel Brühl, from Goodbye, Lenin) using the group as research fodder.
The film veers off course, especially when it comes to the fivesome's sexual conflicts - ah, the French! - but at its core And If We All Lived Together is an effective ensemble piece that takes a clear-eyed look at aging.
Definitely a movie for grown-ups.