Sunset Hall—the Los Angeles rest home for political progressives—has played host to many feisty lefties since opening its doors in 1932. Laura Gabbert's documentary on two of its residents, Irja Lloyd and Lucille Alpert, finds its human pulse in the ladies' cantankerous companionship ("I'm Emerson and she's Thoreau," Alpert cracks), but the film can't seem to locate its narrative focal point. Is this a dissection of an institution ˆ la Frederick Wiseman? Or is the doc simply a testimony to the power of friendship between two lovable old biddies? While their tale is indeed moving, a general incoherence greatly lessens the impact.
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