Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is Anybody There? (Rhoades)

Michael Caine Finds Magic In “Is Anybody There?”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I’m of that age when my friends and I are starting to think about how to care for our aging parents. My wife’s 88-year-old mother refuses to live with any of the children, or go into a retirement home. We worry.

Statistics show that many of us will spend more years taking care of our parents than we’ve spend taking care of our children. I learned this when I published a newsletter called The Eldercare Letter. As I said, I worry.

In “Is Anybody There?” – the new British dramedy at the Tropic Cinema – you’ll get to examine the issue of aging from a closer perspective.

Sir Michael Caine (he was knighted after years of good and bad movies) plays an elderly magician, all out of card tricks, mind slipping a bit, who enters an old age home with all the unwillingness of a man being sentenced to a prison term.

He meets a 10-year-old boy who also lives in this family-run facility. An unlikely friendship develops between the cranky old performer and the boy surrounded by the dead and dying.

Young Bill Milner (“Son of Rambow”) is the guileless kid, obsessed with ghosts and the paranormal, interviewing the home’s residents with his tape recorder, determined to find proof of an afterlife.

Actually growing up in a retirement home, scriptwriter Peter Harness draws this story from his own experiences.

Not quite a golden years film or a coming-of-age story, it’s instead an oddball examination of both “growing up and growing old.”

(from Solares Hill)

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