The Fabulous Collins Girls…
A once famous actress and an unhappily married housewife escape their lives and go on a road trip.
The Time Of Their Lives – Starring Joan Collins, Pauline Collins and Franco Nero, VertigoFilmsUK with photos © Universal Pictures.
The Time of Their Lives (2017) stars two of our lovely more mature British actresses. Firstly there is the wonderful Joan Collins, always famed for Dynasty (1981-89) and an infamous Horror film from my youth, Empire of the Ants (1977).
Joan’s Empire of the Ants is a much-loved – and in the queue to be reviewed – guilty pleasure. I’ve great memories watching this with my dad and laughing at the special effects. Joan was, of course, the star of the show and stole the show too in this and another horror guilty pleasure from the 1970s, Tales from the Crypt (1972).
Her co-star, the equally excellent Pauline Collins always remembered as Shirley Valentine (1989) and Queen Victoria in Doctor Who (2005). Pauline’s turn in Doctor Who was with David Tennant as Doctor Who and Billie Piper’s assistant in Rose Tyler at her most irritating.
Tyler spent what felt like the whole episode trying to get Collins’ Queen Victoria to say “We are not amused” which really, really annoyed me. I kept hoping that if she did she would then zap Rose Tyler to a dimension where she’d accidentally get killed by Daleks. But it was not to be. Sadly.
The Time of Their Lives is a drama-comedy and buddy road movie with a fabulous plotline. The plot tells of how a once-famous actress, Helen Shelley (Joan Collins) meets downtrodden housewife, Priscilla (Pauline Collins) after she drops her purse and the pair embark on a trip of a lifetime.
Helen is now stuck in a retirement home where no one appears to remember her acting career, Priscilla is unhappily married, and living alone with her husband. When the purse brings these two women together, Priscilla recognises Helen and is awestruck in a sweet and almost innocent way. Helen asks her to accompany her to her ex-partner’s – a famous film director – funeral after the pair read of his death. Both decide to attend his funeral in the South of France to escape their current situations.
Despite their lack of money, together they head to the funeral for a little bit of Hollywood glamour. This leads to fun, girly bonding, flirtations and an angry husband (Ronald Pickup) left behind… and a love interest Alberto (Franco Nero). It also stars Joely Richardson and Sian Reeves.
This British film looks like it will be a delight from start to finish. The film also concentrates on the pair’s friendship and looks like it will be a fun comedy, however as a drama it also explores the women’s old wounds – Priscilla’s son has passed away and has an unhappy marriage. Helen is in a nursing home, forgotten by her public.
Having seen the whole of the trailer I’m wondering if the writer had the Collins’ girls in mind when writing the plot. Joan’s character seems the flirtatious one and a great comic script delivered in the deadpan way only Joan can. Pauline’s Priscilla leaves her unappreciative husband behind while she and an Italian get to know each other more.. so shades of her comic Shirley Valentine character.
In Shirley Valentine – written by the excellent Liverpudlian playwright Willy Russell – Pauline played Shirley, an underappreciated wife and mother who goes to Greece with an old school friend. There she has a wee bit of a fling with a waiter, Costas – played by Tom Conti. Pauline delivered the comic lines in this film wonderfully.
Joan, in her portrayal of Alexis Colby in Dynasty, was always a wee bit of a flirt with excellent one-liners directed to both the older and younger man, with her character here with the same wonderful attributes. I’m hoping this film will get a Finnish cinematic release, as it seems to be a feel-good and inspiring film for all ages.
I’m sure I speak for all girls of any age when I say that judging from the trailer alone, watching Helen escape from a retirement home for the heady heights of Hollywood glamour with a few adventures along the way, who doesn’t want to be Joan Collins’ Helen when they grow up…