Netflix Update No. 82: “Never Too Late”

October 8, 2013

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

Now that I’m 71 and nearly a senior citizen myself, I find that I’m drawn to these movies about seniors who show that they are by no means through. A case in point is Never Too Late, a 1996 Canadian comedy with a cast that includes Olympia Dukakis, Cloris Leachman, Jean Lapointe, Jan Rubes, Cory Haim, and Matt Craven. The story line is that Woody (Lapointe) is a resident of a rest home and part of a card-playing quartet with three outsiders: Rose (Dukakis), an actress; Olive (Leachman), a radio host; and Joseph (Rubes), a cranky and tight-fisted Slav.

Woody has an acrimonious relationship with Carl (Craven), the owner/manager of the home, who has Woody’s power of attorney and uses it to keep Woody from getting access to his cash. When Carl prevents Woody from chipping in to pay for the burial of a friend, Rose, Olive, and Joseph begin to suspect that something is amiss in the management of the home. With the help of Joseph’s grandson, Max (Haim), they launch an investigation that at times skirts the law of the land in an effort to figure out how Carl is handling the residents’ assets. While one might jump to an accurate conclusion about how their probe turns out, one might not anticipate the plot twist at the end.

CLORIS LEACHMAN

CLORIS LEACHMAN

Although this is a comedy, it looks squarely at some grim implications of old age. On the other hand, the movie includes a touching romantic relationship between Rose and Joseph — something not often portrayed by an industry that usually associates sexuality only with youth. The story line is not impossible, but some aspects of it are improbable, at least as they are portrayed in this film. There are also two scenes that seem to be cut in mid sentence. Nonetheless, it’s an entertaining little farce, and the actors all turn in sound performances. American audiences are familiar with Olympia Dukakis and Cloris Leachman, but maybe not so much with Rubes and Lapointe, two fascinating characters.

JAN RUBES

JAN RUBES

Rubes, who died in 2009, started his professional career as an operatic basso in his native Czechoslovakia and sang with the Canadian Opera Company before he switched to film and television acting. He appeared in at least 39 films, including the 1985 thriller Witness, in which he portrayed the Amish patriarch Eli Lapp. Rubes also appeared in 15 TV movies and 15 series. Lapointe, a native of Canada, is known mostly, in his entertainment career, as a singer and comedian. He was also a member of the Canadian Senate, representing Quebec from 2001 to 2010.

JEAN LAPOINTE

JEAN LAPOINTE

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