When I'm 64 Reel Affirmations 15: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Saturday, 10/15/2005
Time: 5:00 pm

Venue: Lincoln Theatre
Tickets: $9 Buy tickets online

Type: Feature presentation

Metro Weekly Rating: (5 out of 5)

by Dan Odenwald

IT'S THE UNLIKELIEST of love stories that are the most moving, the kind that creep out of nowhere, sparked by little more than mere happenstance. When I'm 64, a BBC television production, is exactly such a story, and it's mesmerizing.

The film opens at the retirement ceremony of Jim (Alun Armstrong), a Latin teacher at an all-boys' boarding school. At 64, he's barely escaped the confines of that school, and he promises himself to do two things before he dies: See the world and fall in love.

His long-planned trip to Botswana is derailed, however, when his aging father suffers a stroke. Trapped in the English countryside, he strikes up an unusual friendship with a Cockney cab driver, Ray (played beautifully by Paul Freeman). At the end of their lives, the two undergo a rebirth of sorts as they discover what it means to fall in love.

When I'm 64 is richer and more subtle than most romances. The age and experience of the couple allow director Jon Jones to offer a deeper, more layered narrative. Unlike the blissful naiveté of young love with all its hope and promise, mature love with all its scars and memory is even more hopeful because it offers a second chance.

The task, of course, is in seizing that chance, a point echoed by Ray's best friend, Billy, suffering from prostate cancer, who muses, ''It's such a short little life really.'' Such end-of-life reflections give new currency to the joys of Jim and Ray's romance: long talks on the phone, lazy dinners, learning how to drive.

This newfound exuberance is threatened by Ray's son when he sees the two men together at a restaurant. ''You're my father, and it's horrible,'' he shouts. At first, Ray retreats, trapped behind the walls of convention, not entirely different from those of the boarding school that trapped Jim.

But love will persist. If the expected happy (and obvious) ending comes, then it's richly deserved. Sometimes serendipity does indeed prevail. Like the love affair it seeks to portray, When I'm 64 is an unexpected treasure, tightly-woven and powerfully acted. It will surely delight filmgoers who are lucky enough to stumble across it.

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details
· Internet Movie Database

Festival Venue:
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. (202) 328-6000. (map)
Directly across from Green Line Metro / U Street-Cardozo station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at BoxOfficeTickets.com or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the DCJCC (1529 16th Street, NW, WDC); Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC); or Universal Gear (1601 17th Street, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.