British Film Festival Review: Golden Years

When their pension is takes a dive after the GFC, senior citizens turn to a life of crime to take back what they feel they’re entitled to.


What do you do when your pension disappears and you have no way to support your old age? You rob a bank of course!

Golden Years is a light-hearted crime romp in which senior citizens try and take back what they feel they’re entitled to after a life of hard-work.

Having lived by the letter of the law throughout their early years, two seniors are angered as their pension dives and has been rendered worthless in the fall-out of the financial crisis. How, they ask, is this fair? Shouldn’t they be able to live comfortably in the final decades of their existence? As the local community club is faced with closure and the Goodes’ struggle with their bills, they feel let down by life.

The solution to their problems is to live by the motto “an eye for an eye” and let karma take over – Arthur Goode capitalises on an accident outside of a bank, relieving the institution of a substantial amount of money. A Robin Hood-type crime-wave then kicks off with a gang of senior citizens (disguised in “old people” masks) committing a series of faux armed robberies to correct the ill done to them.

With a clever comment on older age mixed with a liberal dose of comedy, this film is a winner! The performances are stunning.

Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna are well matched as Arthur and Martha, delivering performances that salute older age, gently reminding us that people in the twilight years of their lives need to be treated with respect as intelligent individuals.

Add to these strong supporting performances from Simon Callow and Alun Armstrong playing Arthur and Martha’s friends, along with strong cameo performances, and you end up with a comedy that only the British could make.

Other highlights are the score by Neil Athale which covers a plethora of genres and tight direction by John Miller.

Although this film can be enjoyed by anyone, it will certainly raise a smile with the older generation!

Reviewed by Barry Hill
Twitter: @kinesguy

Rating out of 10: 10

Golden Years will screen on 6, 10 and 18 November 2016 for the BBC First British Film Festival, which runs 3 – 23 November 2016 exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

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