A sweetly schematic yarn about septuagenarian love isn't as wholesome as some of its fruitful parts.
Starring China Zorrilla and Manuel Alexandre, Elsa & Fred (in Spanish with English subtitles) is blessed with their actorly prowess in the titular roles.
Zorrilla has quite a cogent presence as an edgy Argentine in Madrid (who says she's 77) who meets cute in a fender bender with new neighbor Alfredo (Fred). Fred has been widowed for over half a year, and is tentative to her advances, at least for a while, anyway.
Director Marcos Carnevale, who hails from Argentina, and assisted on the screenplay, lets the ups and downs of these two play out with a certain schmaltz and concern for the effects of human eccentricities.
The premise of temperament colliding with the conservative, as Fred has a strident daughter looking for him to invest in an on-line restaurant venture, seems a tad flimsy. But, especially for those around the age of Elsa and Fred there is something to be fond of. One of the better scenes involves how they handle the bill at a restaurant.
Younger audiences may see this as a geriatric version of something like Sweet November considering what is being withheld for a while from someone who has a knack for taking things. Nevertheless, with a picture of Anita Ekberg on her wall, Elsa finally gets the surprise of a lifetime with her new lover in a famous scene right out of the seminal La Dolce Vita which featured Elsa's idol with Marcello Mastroianni.
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