"Never Give Up on Those You Love"
What You Need To Know:
Despite the ending’s sad revelations, LOVELY, STILL is a beautiful movie that celebrates true love, life and, ultimately, marriage. The only drawbacks are some foul language and an implication of pre-marital sex, but that second drawback partially disappears when all the truths about Robert surface. LOVELY, STILL is a small, intimate movie with a limited release, but it’s one of the best, most poignant, most entertaining dramas of the year. It also has overtly positive references to Christmas and Jesus.
(BB, CC, Pa, LL, V, S, A, M) Strong moral worldview celebrating true love, life and, ultimately, marriage and family ties, with overt, strong positive references to Christmas, including Jesus Christ and His incarnation, brief immoral pagan implications of possible pre-marital sex but those disappear and are partially resolved positively in the third act; four obscenities, one strong GD profanity and nine light profanities, plus man says his car accidently hit his garage door because he had to go to the bathroom; some light violence when elderly man gets confused and angry, a hospital scene and man reveals he contemplated suicide because of his loneliness; an implication of pre-marital sex with couple in bed, but the situation is not entirely what it seems; no nudity; alcohol use; no smoking; and, elderly man has some mental problems that leave his loved ones unable to truly reach out to him.
LOVELY, STILL is a touching, funny, heartbreaking movie about the love between two senior citizens.
The movie stars Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. Landau plays Robert Malone, an elderly man working as a grocery store clerk. It’s Christmas time, and Robert is feeling lonely in life and love. His Christmas tree only has one present under it, from himself to himself.
One day, Robert’s goofy young boss, Mike, asks him to help sell holiday recipe books. Robert says he’ll think about it. The same day, an elderly, beautiful woman (Ellen Burstyn) shopping with her daughter secretly watches Robert as he draws pictures during his break. Then, when Robert comes home, he finds the woman, Mary, in his house. Robert had crashed his car accidentally into his garage door, and Mary says she came to check on him because she was worried.
At first Robert is angry with Mary, but, when she says she and her daughter live across the street and asks Robert for a date, his anger turns to joy. Just before leaving, Mary tells Robert to pick out a good restaurant for them.
The next day, in a very funny scene, Robert asks his boss for romantic advice about women. Together, they pick a restaurant for Robert to take Mary.
At the restaurant, awkwardness between Robert and Mary gives way to familiarity. After a brief conversation, including a discussion about how bad both their meals are, Mary leads Robert in a toast to “never give up.”
As the romance between Mary and Robert blossoms, showing that the two were made for each other, it also becomes clear that Robert is suffering from strange nightmares where he seems lost in a red and blue fog that resembles cobwebs and smoke. An alarm clock tuned to Christmas music jolts Robert awake every morning. Then, a Christmas Eve party with Mary’s friends and relatives goes badly, and some sad truths about Robert’s state of mind and recent history are revealed. Mary’s love for Robert remains steadfast, however.
Despite the sad revelations at the end of its story, LOVELY, STILL is a beautiful movie that celebrates eternal love, life and, ultimately, marriage. The acting is superb. The two leads give Oscar-worthy performances. Martin Landau may just get another Oscar nomination. The only drawbacks are some foul language and an implication of pre-marital sex, but that second drawback is partially resolved when all the truths about Robert surface.
LOVELY, STILL is a small, intimate film with a limited release, but it’s one of the best, most poignant and most entertaining dramas of the year for older viewers. It also has some overtly positive references to Christmas, including positive incarnational references to Jesus in an inspiring scene with some Christmas carolers. In that light, one of the biggest messages in the movie is the idea to never give up on those you love. Here, viewers may find a redemptive echo in John 3:16’s description of God and His eternal love: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”