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« 1973 Look Back: The End of the New Wave, the Beginning of My Cinephilia | Main | Live(ish) from Comic Con: Marvel-ous Ant Man & Avengers 2 »
Sunday
Jul272014

Yes No Maybe So: "My Old Lady" 

Here's Andrew Kendall on a trailer I didn't get to! I've thrown my back out and I thank the team for this weekend's content for your amusement. I should be back in regular form soon - Nathaniel R

 

That it took an entire week for Yes No Maybe So to appear for upcoming British dramedy My Old Lady shouldn’t be seen as a sign of disinterest, or indicative of the trailer's merit. Although, on suggesting it for this series I pointed out to Nathaniel that Israel Horovitz's quiet European dramedy might not be one many are immediately passionate about. In the glut of trailers released in the past week, the modest My Old Lady seems to have been lost in the midst. Although I generally I tend to avoid trailers, I was curious to see how Horovitz would adapt his drawing-room play, which I'm fond of, to the screen.

Here's the trailer. The Yes No Maybe So breakdown featuring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas is after the jump...

YES

  • We wait a whole minute to see her, and her first shot  is less than auspicious but Kristin Scott Thomas! I will follow her anywhere, and since she announced her screen retirement earlier this year, any new film she’s a part of is an immediate yes. She’s excellently cast as the most difficult character of the original play’s trio. And, she's not playing the mother of the heroine but the sort-of romantic lead of the film. Even better.
  • Gosford Park reunion! Maggie Smith and KST played mother and daughter in Keeping Mum, but seeing them together always gives me fond memories of Sylvia McCordle and her loopy Aunt Constance from Gosford Park. That’s a high bar to aspire to, but hopefully My Old Lady sees them in half as good form.
  • Speaking of reunions, sure Life of House isn't the best film to bring up in the yes column but one of the better things from that film was the Kline / Scott Thomas rapport. Will My Old Lady will put that chemistry to better use?
  • A quiet, slightly comedic slightly romantic drama with three leads all over fifty? Other than The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which skews older) there’s nothing like this which gives it the added pitch of being unlike anything that’ll be released this fall….

NO

  • ….although that could end up being no, as it’s fair to argue that My Old Lady seems like it could be a film that belongs in a previous era. Is it good enough?
  • Highly suspicious of the title-card font and colour.
  • The very old trope of the uneducated American heading to foreign lands and speaking the language poorly and loudly, if at all, is one I could do without seeing again and the trailer offers us glimpse of this as well as the "foreigner heading to Europe to realise the importance of living life to the fullest". Hopefully the film doesn't boil the everything down to clichés.
  • This trailer plays so lightly I hope Horovitz isn’t cutting out all the underlying barbs and tension that the original play comes with. Light can be good, but does the trailer seem too light...?

MAYBE SO

  • That gets slightly into spoiler territory but I’m anxious to see if Horovitz uses the play’s original – less happy – ending or the more recent, less tragic, one. The trailer seems to avoid all the barbs of the play which suggests it’s heading for the lighter tone, which could work but then it could just be a case of false advertising. But, surely, a barb-filled Maggie Smith would be a bigger sell than a generally winsome one the trailer shows us. Changes from stage to screen or the studio unconfident about advertising the film's tension a la August: Osage County? Hopefully the tension is watered to become a pleasant but forgettable affair.
  • Downton Abbey has made the glory of Maggie Smith seem all too routine, the trailer only offers hints of the nuanced role Mathile could be. Hopefully My Old Lady reminds us of why she's great.
  • Israel Horovitz’s directorial debut. Playwrights adapting their own for screen can go either way. The trailer doesn’t give us enough to discern what kind of a director Horovitz is going to be. The play itself is a three-character play all that's entirely set in the apartment. There’s no telling how the opening up of the drama will work and how confident Horovitz’s control of the camera will be.

I'm a YES on this, in spite of (and even because of) the trailer's lightness, my knowledge of the play and most significantly the three leads.

What say you? If you haven't read or seen the play does this trailer make you interested in My Old Lady?

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Reader Comments (9)

I love seeing KST and Maggie Smith together, and Kevin Kline is always a delight, so the cast is great. I know nothing of this play, but considering that KST and Maggie Smith made the slight comedy of " Keeping Mum " watchable I would say this is a yes.
I've read in an interview that KST will take anything that permits her to work with Smith as they have been friends since " Richard III," this will be the 4th film they have both been in.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I'm a Yes to everything with Maggie Smith, the old gal can do no wrong.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

Towards the end of the trailer, when it takes a slightly more serious tone, it starts to win me over. For the most part, however, the trailer plays too broad for my taste. A second trailer could chance things but for now, I'm a MAYBE leaning towards NO.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

KST can't retire. She just can't...

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Thrown your back out? You have more invested in that banana than we thought.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I"m a yes. I don't know the play, but the three leads, the setting and what little I heard of some decent dialogue.......I love Maggie Smith. But I long for pieces where she gets to be something other than the dowager, a role she has been sleep walking through for many, many years. And Kline and Thomas both deserve a good project to show their stuff. I'm hoping it works.

This could be a third Oscar nod for Smith. Especially if Marigold 2 is released and her range is on show.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

This is warming all my insides. Yes.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I find it a little disheartening that the female characters seem to be changed from their original French to British. It would've been great to see Jeanne Moreau and Juliette Binoche take a crack at it.

I'm still a YES, though. Kline looks really excellent here.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

KST!!!!

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

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