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Lovely, Still

You can keep your Anistons and Clooneys — this year's best romance is glorious and gray.


Lovely, Still (PG)

En español  |  A movie doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be magical — sometimes a filmmaker’s occasional gap in logic or naïve assumption can add to the dreamlike quality of a tale well told. Such is the case with Lovely, Still, a lovingly realized fable crafted by 26-year-old first-time writer/director Nik Fackler. In many ways, Lovely, Still is a young man’s vision of what it’s like to get old. But Fackler’s vision is rich and full, a wondrous world swirling with love and loss, discovery and terror.

Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn bring all their Oscar-winning talents to bear in a story that seems rather straightforward as it unfolds, but becomes head-spinningly complex in the final reel. He’s Robert, a man living alone in Omaha, Nebraska, holding down a job at a local grocery store, apparently without real duties, tenderly watched over by the store’s young manager (Adam Scott, in a part that becomes deeper and more nuanced as it unfolds). One day, Robert becomes aware of the beautiful, charming and kind of mysterious woman who’s moved in across the street — and Burstyn is indeed irresistible with her dewy eyes and dimpled smile.

The true depth of the stars’ performances — Burstyn’s in particular — comes to light only in that final reel, when the secrets that have been whispered in the first two acts are at last revealed. Suddenly, we understand that the actors in the movie — like the characters themselves — have been playing more than one role from the start. That alone makes Lovely, Still well worth seeing a second time. But I suspect some would have gone back anyway, if only to spend a bit more time with its stars. You can have your Jennifer Anistons and your Gerard Butlers — this year there is no more romantic sight at the movies than Landau and Burstyn, glorious and gray, dancing in the snow.