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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday July 19, 2018 


SYNOPSIS: Helen (Joan Collins), a former Hollywood star enlists the help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a new acquaintance she meets in the street, in order to journey from London to France for the funeral of her ex-lover, a successful director who launched her career years ago. Priscilla is initially concerned at leaving behind her husband Frank (Ronald Pickup) but as their adventures progress and she meets Alberto (Franco Nero), a charming and attentive famous Italian painter who befriends the women, her doubts begin to vanish.

Review by Louise Keller:
There's pathos and laughter in this slim but uplifting tale about second chances in which Joan Collins plays a Hollywood has-been and Pauline Collins is the eternal Shirley Valentine. TV director Roger Goldby has written a golden years road trip comedy that explores friendship, romance, past mistakes and being strong enough to do something about them. Some of the film is lightweight and is predictably played for laughs, but surprisingly it delve into deeper territory, bringing pathos and an edge that elevates it beyond expectations. And there is Franco Nero, intact with oodles of charm - and a ponytail.

The story begins by establishing the realities of the two central characters that are poles apart. Helen (Joan Collins) is a bad tempered former movie star (think Alexis Carrington from Dynasty) with a bad hip, an explosive temper and a drinking problem. Priscilla (Pauline Collins) is typecast as a downtrodden English housewife whose grumpy husband Frank (Ronald Pickup) blames her for a personal tragedy that occurred years earlier.

That's how the best things happen: by mistake, Helen utters, when Priscilla accidentally ends up on the bus that is taking Helen and a group of senior citizens to the beach. But Helen has another agenda - she is intent on going to the funeral of an old director friend in France, hoping to score an acting job. 'It will be like the Academy Awards. A little sadder, but not much,' she quips. The way the two women find their way on a ferry crossing the channel to the beautiful Ile de Re requires a leap of faith, but there are some amusing exchanges along the way.
Things hot up when Franco Nero (wearing pyjamas) rescues the two stranded women, charming them over dinner in his stunning mansion. Nero is attentive, romantic, charming and I laughed when the wonderfully self-deprecating Joan Collins retorts 'So you're rich', quickly continuing her tirade of tactlessness by adding 'Is your wife dead or has she just gone shopping?' The surprises continue with Nero's full frontal and naked dip as he woes Pauline Collins, just as Tom Conti did in Shirley Valentine nearly 30 years ago, when the water was deeper than forever. There's a sweet dynamic between Nero and Pauline Collins, who is made to feel like a teenager again.

There are some lovely touches - like the casting of Joely Richardson (Nero is married to Richardson's mother Vanessa Redgrave, who he met playing Lancelot in the 1967 film Camelot) and the scene in which Joan Collins poignantly sings 'Who Can I Turn To' has special relevance having been written by her second husband, Anthony Newley.

It may not look as though Helen and Priscilla have anything in common, but both harbour dark secrets. There are revelations from the past and mistakes are faced and addressed amid confrontations.

The film is surprisingly involving, mostly due to the charisma of its high profile cast, and while it may not be the best work of either Collins namesake, it is an enjoyable foray that commendably does not deliver a typical Hollywood ending.

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(UK, 2017)

CAST: Joan Collins, Pauline Collins, Franco Nero, Joely Richardson

PRODUCER: Azim Bolkiah, Sarah Sulick

DIRECTOR: Roger Goldby

SCRIPT: Roger Goldby


EDITOR: Beverley Mills

MUSIC: Stephen Warbeck


RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes



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