Golden Years – Review (** 1/2)

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A comforting, warm blanket (or cup of cocoa) of a film, Golden Years makes no qualms about pandering directly to its OAP demographic, with a resulting mix of winning, righteous anger and stodgy, moldy attempts at something approaching humour.

After a mountain of unfortunate circumstances cause pensioner couple Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha Goode (Virginia McKenna) to realise that their golden years won’t be quite so golden, they decide to start ripping off the very banks who screwed over their pension plans, ultimately recruiting their fellow beleaguered oldies to join them for a grand heist.

It’s not terribly surprising that a film like this isn’t much more than a one-note gag about the absurdity old people capably (and sometimes incapably) robbing banks, but while it’s an effort easy to sneer at and pick on, it does benefit from agreeably game performances, and clearly has something important to say about the pension crisis currently facing many elderly people.

Ultimately, it picks its broad targets and ensures to shake its fist at the cardboard banker villains first and foremost, but it’s likely that many current elderly folk will, despite the caper’s inherent silliness, deeply empathise with what they’re seeing on-screen, even if they’re not exactly going to pick up arms to do something about it.

Take away the social commentary, and you’ve got a watchable but intermittently cringe-worthy Sunday afternoon TV film, shot without much fuss to speak of, and wearing its low budget conception like a badge of honour. Then again, given the setting, anything else would seem laughably grandiose, so it makes sense. 

It’s not big or clever, and its message is undeniably heavy-handed, but it’ll hit its targets effortlessly within a certain age bracket, and that’s clearly all Golden Years is trying to do. Younger viewers probably won’t remember they watched it in a week, and that’s fine too.

** 1/2

Golden Years is in UK cinemas now


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