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The Glow of Memory

The Glow of Memory

Italien/USA 2017 - with Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Christian McKay, Janel Moloney ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:The Leisure Seeker
Direction:Paolo Virzì
Cinema release:04.01.2018
Production country:Italien/USA 2017
Running time:Approx. 113 min
Rated:From 12 years

For many years, Ella (Helen Mirren) and John (Donald Sutherland) have been married. Together they have been through a lot, raised two children and have been through the ups and downs of marriage together. But now they are old and their journey together is coming to an end. While retired teacher John is slowly but surely losing his memories, Helen's body is fighting a fierce battle against cancer. But the couple doesn't want to let their twilight years be dominated by forgetfulness and doctor's visits. They set out in their old RV on a final journey toward Key West, where they plan to visit Hemingway's home. It's a journey into the unknown, one they both hope to master with their indomitable courage to live and their love. But even now, life has a few surprises in store for them.

Acclaimed director Paolo Virzì (The Sweet Greed) delivers his first English-language film with the novel adaptation The Glow of Memory. It's a very fine story at its core, carried by an excellent duo of actors, but it doesn't quite manage to unleash the emotional power whose potential is ever-present. On the one hand, this is due to the script. Here you notice that the dialogues were not written by native speakers. They sound - at least in the original English version - simply too artificial, which is then again transferred to the acting of the actors. Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland can still make up for this to a large extent. The supporting actors, on the other hand, are less successful.

But Virzìs staging is also problematic in this case. His style and the story just don't quite want to come together. There are too many moments of unnecessary slowness where the plot isn't really moved forward. This is especially noticeable when the interspersed lightness disappears more and more and gives way to the heaviness of Ella and John's fate. The fact that the dramaturgy is extended here by a late marital crisis seems arguably contrived and takes away much of the story's credibility.

No question, The Shining of Memory has its moments - both visually, when the film shows some cinematically seldom-used sides of America, and acting, when Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland are allowed to hit top form. But all in all - and this is really a pity with such a topic - the production remains too emotionally distant to actually grab the viewer. A movie that leaves its audience extremely depressed at the end - and not only because of the story. Therefore, there is here a worth seeing just so and also only with clear deductions.

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


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Cinema trailer for the movie "The Glow of Memory (Italien/USA 2017)"
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