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Review: Never Too Old (2013)

Directed by: Pollo de Pimentel | 90 minutes | , | Actors: Aart Staartjes, , , Petra Laseur, , , Georgina Verbaan, Kasper van Kooten, , , Frits Lambrechts, Jaap Maarleveld, , , , Mirjam Hegger, , Connie Wilhelmus, , Lieke Rosa Altink, Jochum ten Haaf, , , Chris Comvalius, Urmie Plein, ,

It seems like a new trend: (ensemble) films about older actors. In films such as “Red” (2010) and “Stand Up Guys” (2013), old-timers show that they still have a lot to offer; modest art house hits ‘Wolke 9’ (2008) and ‘Tous ensemble’ (2011) examined sexuality in the elderly and ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ brought together a selection of British actor veterans, resulting in a great feel-good in India. Dutch Telefilm ‘Nooit te oud’ is somewhat like all the aforementioned films: the actors have been known for years from both films and television, they do not allow themselves to be suppressed by the younger generation and the proves that love and sexuality can never be are too old.

The pivot in the story of “Never too old” is Marius Koolman (Aart Staartjes). We get to know him when his son takes him to the Voorstaete care center. After an intake interview, he is found suitable for living in the department with people “who are still doing very well”. Other residents include the graceful Rita (Petra Laseur), the always hungry Kees (Hero Muller), the continuously shouting ‘I want to die’ Ananza (Gerda Havertong), the Parkinson’s disease Jan (Bram van der Vlugt) and his wife Gerda (Kitty Courbois), who remembers Marius from the past. With healthy reluctance, Marius takes up residence in Voorstaete. He is annoyed by the patronizing caretakers and feels trapped when he is not allowed to go outside for a breath of fresh air. When he is also opposed several times by the cold care manager Marleen (Georgina Verbaan), the measure is full and he calls on his fellow residents to take action. Miraculously, he needs little persuasion to persuade them: the residents all appear to be dissatisfied with the way things are going in Voorstaete, but Marius gives them just that little push they need.

It’s really nice to see the actors together on screen and it must have been a party for the cast to play these roles. Not only the old guard act well, the younger actors and actresses are also convincing, with colleagues Debbie (Caro Lenssen) and Marleen being portrayed as extremes. Despite the serious topic (cutbacks in healthcare and what that means in concrete terms), the comic approach fits well with the story of “Never too old”, because the message that the elderly are seen as a cost item does get across anyway. This makes it all the more regrettable that the makers did not continue this light-hearted tone throughout the film. The cover is therefore rather cold on your roof. It seems that the makers did not have enough faith in their own story and thought a dramatic turn was inevitable. Unfortunately. Don’t let that stop you from watching “Never Too Old”, because just seeing all the familiar faces from the past makes this charming film worth watching. And there are plenty of moments of heartfelt humor and poignancy to counterbalance the somewhat disappointing ending.

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