‘I wouldn’t go in there,’ Miguel tells Emilio as they pass the dementia ward of their care home. ‘It’s not a pretty sight.’ Few filmmakers have dared to go there either – old age and Alzheimer’s are perennially unsexy subjects in cinema, and especially in animation. Credit to Spanish animator Ignacio Ferreras, then, for this honest, moving study of the unseen desperation of ageing.
Ferreras worked as an animator on Sylvain Chomet’s ‘The Illusionist’, and while technically less brilliant, ‘Wrinkles’ shares that film’s gentle comedy. Perhaps its greatest achievement is to convey the comatose pace of life in a care home better than any live action could. Long, still shots of Emilio’s face, with well-timed flashback scenes, remind us that an old man’s vacant stare might be the mask not of dementia but of deep reminiscence. Sadly, the dubbed English dialogue is let down by poor acting: Martin Sheen and George Coe as the two leads sound bored (and not in a way appropriate to the story), and none of the supporting characters ever comes alive. In a film about the gradual passage from life to death, this is a real drawback.