Golden Years – Review ***


If you followed attentively as the Hatton Garden robbery unfolded, and cheered for the four elderly men who (almost) managed to stick it to the Big Man one last time – or if you have the revolutionary idea that the elderly can also have fun – you’ll surely enjoy Golden Years.

Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha Goode (Virginia McKenna) are making the best of their retirement years. But when Martha’s medication stops being paid for, Arthur’s pension is cut off, their beloved Bowls Club faces being turned into a supermarket and all of their friends seem to be struggling to make the ends meet before the End comes, they decide to take the matter into their own hands and go all Bonnie and Clyde on the banks – while visiting, of course, some of the National Trust’s most lovable properties in their new caravan. But as police starts getting closer and closer, with Inspector Sid (Alun Armstrong) and orange-tanned DC Stringer (Brad Moore) competing to solve the case, will Arthur and Martha be able to walk away and enjoy the rest of their days in freedom?


The second feature of director John Miller (after his debut in 2002 with Living in Hope) is a charming yet conventional story of David vs Goliath, making it a great film for the family, though failing to go the extra mile to be truly remarkable.  A story as straightforward as you can get when telling of a heist, Golden Years does present a somewhat different portrait of the older generation, in the same lines as The Best Marigold Hotel but not as bold as R.E.D. Sure there are the bingo nights, Tom Jones look-a-likes and mobility scooters, but there’s also no pants breakfast and vibrators. And yet, if the older characters seem to be given some depth (though sometimes on the brink of stereotype), that isn’t true for the “villain” of the story, DC Stringer, who starts the story as an annoying grammar snob and completely forgets about this trait after 10 minutes, becoming a young upstart with too much bark and not enough bite instead.


A competent and mildly entertaining comedy, Golden Years won’t have you on the floor roaring with laughter (there isn’t much to laugh about when any of your protagonists can die at any minute) and will definitely not blow you away with originality, but as a quaint British comedy, better served with custard creams and a cuppa, it’s perfectly alright.

Golden Years will be in UK cinemas from 29 April 2016 #GoldenYears #50RaidsofGrey, and on DVD & Digital HD from 29th August 2016. 

Sara is originally from Coimbra, Portugal, where she studied Film Studies before moving to London to enrol in film school. Having made her first short film about her neighbour's chickens when she was 9 (a dystopian sci-fi, still her favourite genre), she is now a London-based film director and editor, and also a writer for the Portuguese Take Magazine. She is a huge fan of Lars Von Trier, Krysztof Kiéslowski, and David Lean.