“Elsa & Fred” reminds us that it is never too late to find love for the first time.
The film stars Shirley MacLaine as Elsa and Christoper Plummer, most famous for his role as Captain Von Trapp in the classic film the Sound of Music, as Fred.
The pair meet when Fred moves in across from Elsa after his wife’s death. Elsa, who is determined to live life to the fullest, quickly begins trying to lure her new neighbor out of his shell. After much push and pull, the pair strike up a romance that worries their adult children, and they travel to Rome together.
Neither Elsa nor Fred is young, and they don’t fit into the beauty-obsessed standards of the world we live in anymore. What the film does do is show us a different kind of beauty.
The film allows us to see the pair as they see each other. Society sees them as people who are past their prime, as people who have nothing left to contribute. Elsa and Fred see each other as beautiful and handsome individuals who still have much to offer. Allowing us to see the beauty of these two characters is what the film achieves particularly well.
The film also does a wonderful job of portraying Elsa and Fred when they fight. The two of them have multiple fights throughout the movie, but there isn’t any doubt that the way they feel about each other really changes. You don’t worry that the relationship is going to fall apart at any moment. It shows the way healthy couples fight in real life. Each side may have legitimate complaints and be genuinely upset, but there is no question about the connection the two share.
The film does include many predictable romance genre elements that we all love to hate, but fairs well in spite of them. Unlike a lot of those even more cookie-cutter romantic movies, “Elsa & Fred” has heart, and it would be unfair to lump it in with every other clichéd romantic comedy or drama out there.
MacLaine and Plummer brought the life and soul to a film that would have been flat if the directors Michael Redford and Anna Pavignano had cast just about anyone else.
“Elsa & Fred” makes a great date night-in flick, so queue this one up and enjoy!