It’s Never Too Late For Love.
By Skip Sheffield
Yes, it sounds like a cliché. A number of songs have been written based on that very sentiment.
“I’ll See You in My Dreams” is a movie based on a similar theme, but it is no cliché. It is written and directed by Brett Haley, a man nowhere near his golden years (he’s still in his 30s). Haley had the good sense to cast two of the best-looking post-65 actors and a potent supporting cast to prove love in the autumn of life can be every bit as moving as first love.
Carol Peterson (Blythe Danner) is a 70-something widow living alone in Southern California. One morning when she awakes she notices her beloved dog Hazel is not well. A trip to the veterinarian brings bad news: the dog is terminally ill and should be put down.
Carol is practical enough to recognize the inevitable, but still she can’t help feeling blue about losing the closest friend since her husband died in a plane crash some 20 years ago.
Carol gets some solace from her chatty, supportive friends, all whom live in a senior facility called Royal Oaks (which is a real-life 55-up California facility). She also makes a new friend in Lloyd (Martin Starr), her pool boy and a perennial college student who doesn’t quite know what he wants from life.
One day when visiting her friends at Royal Oaks after they encouraged her to make a comic but disastrous attempt at speed-dating, Carol makes eye contact with a handsome white-haired stranger. Her friends are impressed. They know who Bill is: the resident dream boat.
Bill (Sam Elliott) is a carefree, wealthy, divorced man who has moved from Dallas to Los Angeles to enjoy life a bit more. He does not beat around the bush. He likes Carol and she likes him. After a trip on his motor yacht the two septuagenarians get quite cozy.
Enough of the plot. Supporting players Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place and June Squibb provide reliable laughs. Malin Akerman adds a touch of drama as Carol’s estranged daughter reunited. Martin Starr contributes surprising chemistry in an unlikely relationship.
Blythe Danner is best known these days as Gwyneth Paltrow’s mom. It is good to see her on the big screen showing off where her Academy Award-winning daughter got her chops.