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All Together (DVD Review)

25 Mar, 2013 By: Mike Clark

Kino Lorber
Box Office $0.04
$29.95 DVD
Not rated.
In French with English subtitles.
Stars Guy Bedos, Daniel Bruhl, Geraldine Chaplin, Jane Fonda.

Just to be clear, Jane Fonda was a real-life 74 when she made this French confection with a serious matter or two on its mind — albeit an against-the-law 74, just as Fonda was an against-the-law 64, 54 and (for reasons beyond the purely legal) probably 14. Paradoxically, this is what throws the movie off artistically while also serving as the reason you may want to see it: Fonda looks mighty young and trim to be residing with a crew of similar-aged peers who tend to look their ages. Though, just to be a gentleman, I suppose no one would accuse Geraldine Chaplin of being ready to break into a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's "Old Rockin' Chair's Got Me."

The two English-speaking actresses seem perfectly at ease in a French-language movie (Fonda's first in about 40 years), playing part of a five-person group of longtime pals who elect to reside in Chaplin & husband’s spacious and not-quite rural home — an alternative to assisted living that the members could likely afford if desired. This is true even though Fonda's husband suffers from Alzheimer's that seems to be getting worse — and also despite the fact that (though this comes out later) certain of these roomies were romantically involved with other adjacent parties decades earlier and not without a little emotional shelf life. Literally taking note of it all is a young ethnology student (Daniel Bruhl) who soon gets lots of material for his scholarly paper.  

He and Fonda (a former college prof) befriend each other, though writer/director Stephane Robelin's script wisely doesn't get them in the sack, even if doing something this predictable wouldn't have been that much of a stretch other than to the tsk-tsk-ers of the world. The movie isn't a total lark because Fonda has a surprise up her sleeve — though you could probably term this movie as the anti-Amour because its mind is more on sex (or at least talking about it) and on the swimming pool Chaplin wants to have installed, which turns out to be a project of some controversy. On balance, Together plays a teensy bit better than expected because good nature counts for something, even on screen. Getting the most out of the picture will be followers of Fonda, most of whom aren't even likely to know of its existence, given the stealth release Kino gave it in theaters last year.

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