Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday July 28, 2020 


SYNOPSIS: Fate, the UK pensions crisis and a steadfast refusal to accept the injustice of old age have contrived to force law abiding, retired couple, Arthur and Martha Goode (Bernard Hill, Virginia McKenna) into a life of crime. Refusing to take the loss of their pensions lying down and to fade away into their declining years, they decide to take back what was theirs in the first place. They decide to start robbing banks.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With its LOL last line, The Golden Years wraps up an entertaining hour and a half of this wish fulfilment and feel good coming of ageing movie from Brit filmmaker John Miller. Founded on solidly serious themes of ageing, dying, illness and crime, the film does not on the surface offer much hope for fun, but the surface is exactly where the fun is. Grounded in well observed issues that give it relevance and authenticity, the cast of top British thespians deliver a well made romp. But it's all played as straight drama.

The screenplay develops the scenario with a slow fuse and introduces the characters and their circumstances with seamless detail - and fun. But the serious issues are already in place from the first frame: the unhappy reliance on shrinking pensions for the central characters, Arthur and Martha Goode (Bernard Miller and co-writers Nick Knowles & Jeremy Sheldon build a multi-layered screenplay that maintains the comedy and the tension reasonably well throughout, and sometimes exceptionally well.

The provincial settings are beautifully photographed by Adam Lincoln - in sunny spring weather - and the score helps to keep the tone light when needed and tense when there is criminal action.

The film's greatest strength is the humour and humanity of the characterisations by some wonderful actors who make us care about them all and about the success of the scheme to save their community lifestyle at their bowling club - a community centre of some importance to them. So what is at stake is pride, dignity and a chance to enjoy life as the end nears. We can all relate to that ... at least those of us who are mature enough. As it were.

Email this article

Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

(UK, 2016)

CAST: Bernard Hill, Virginia McKenna, Simon Callow, Alun Armstrong, Philip Davis, Una Stubbs, Lily Travers, Sue Johnston, Ellen Thomas

PRODUCER: Mark Foligno

DIRECTOR: John Miller

SCRIPT: John Miller, Nick Knowles, Jeremy Sheldon


EDITOR: Dan Lincoln

MUSIC: Neil Atale


RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 1, 2016

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020