The Time of Their Lives is the latest film to feature comedy great Joan Collins, and provides a refreshing comedic drama about living your best life, teaching you that it’s never too late to start living for yourself.
Joan Collins stars as the aged Hollywood star Helen Shelley, who is eager to escape her London nursing home and recapture her lost fame. When Helen hears about the funeral of her ex-husband (and ex-director) in France, she realises her big break might be on the horizon. Helen then meets Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a down-trodden pensioner with an unhappy marriage and a painful past, and finds the perfect companion to go on a road trip to France with.
Together they rediscover their youth and sexuality, and learn to let go of the past. The Time of Their Lives held the right balance between comedy and drama, and brought up issues such as death, ageing, and women’s sexuality, which are often taboo subjects when told by female protagonists, however the film tackles these issues tastefully and effectively with two strong female leads.
The film’s highlight is the talented Joan Collins – undoubtedly one of Hollywood’s best. She brings a dry humor to the theme of ageing and her character’s lacking fame, which is a savior in the film’s beginning, as it is unfortunately slow to begin with before the storyline gets into gear.
The two leads make an unlikely pair and together they discover a new lease on life, especially Pricilla, whose life had been fraught with pain from the loss of her son when he was just a child. One of the most interesting elements of the film is seeing Pricilla leave her loveless marriage, find herself a rich French artist, Alberto (Franco Nero), and then face her pain surrounding the loss of her son that had controlled her life for so long. The film takes a realistic and uplifting approach to the loss of Pricilla’s child and shows her turning her pain into a fresh start as the film comes to an end.
As the plot progresses, what seems to be a light comedy gains more depth and there are a few plot twists along the way. The film takes the turn into a more complex story about life, death, and making the most of the time we have left, leaving you feeling uplifted and rethinking your own life decisions. Along the way the women find themselves and face their demons, and the film leaves the viewer with a disappointing, but realistic ending. Overall the ending wasn’t great, but the journey to get there was.
Director Roger Goldby comes from a TV background, with The Time of Their Lives being only his second feature-length film.