Venus

Film
GOLDEN OLDIES O'Toole, left, and Phillips toast to the past.
GOLDEN OLDIES O’Toole, left, and Phillips toast to the past.

Time Out says

Having tackled the amorous life of the aged in 2003’s The Mother, Roger Michell and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi revisit the topic of geriatric longing. This time, the duo pairs an elderly male (O’Toole) with a teen girl (Whittaker); surprisingly, the movie doesn’t take place in Hollywood, where such couplings are considered the norm. As the autumnal actor spends his afternoons with his chum’s uncouth grandniece, you’re unsure of whether her youthful bloom reminds him of better days, or if he’s looking to compensate for feelings of emasculation after prostate surgery. Eventually, his interest in the lass boils down to one thing: This gent is just a lifelong randy old goat.

Now 74 years old—though he looks almost twice that age—O’Toole still takes the occasional supporting part. It isn’t until you see him playing the lead again and bantering with Whittaker that you realize how much he’s been missed; few actors can say such perverse things in a plummy voice and make them seem charming. If only Michell’s film actually said something about aging, and didn’t feel the need to include Grumpy Old Men shtick and bland bossa nova--inflected pop. The film’s May-December friendship is handled so sweetly by the leads that such Splenda touches seem superfluous. (Opens Thu 21; Click here for venues.) — David Fear

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