The subject of old age gets the kind of attention it deserves but is too rarely afforded in this funny, affecting and sugar-free animated tale of the survival strategies devised by two old men in a nursing home.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
Let’s hope we’ll never tire of portraits of inspiring seniors – and there’s no shortage at NZIFF this year – but it’s reassuring too that we’re seeing films made that grapple with the grim challenges frequently presented by old age. The most rewarding to cross our paths this year is an animated feature from Spain, first released in 2011, but only now dubbed, seamlessly, into English. Wrinkles is about Emilio (voiced by Martin Sheen), an elderly ex-bank manager who reluctantly enters a retirement home. Befriended and guided by his room-mate Miguel (George Coe), the home’s resident cynic – and the film’s crooked voice of reason – he sets about hiding the onset of Alzheimer’s. Adapted from a graphic novel by Paco Roca, the film is both understated and piercing, laid out very deftly to pinpoint the crises in Emilio’s perception. Wrinkles finds humour and humanity in the games and survival strategies of second childhood, not least in Miguel’s hare-brained plan to escape, but never betrays its subjects with false cheer or sentimentality.