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Forever Young


Stars: Bernard Hill, Amy Tyger, Diana Quick, Mark Jackson, Anna Wolf, Stephanie Beacham, Julian Glover, Gilbert Wynne

Director: Henk Pretorius

In cinema days gone by, films about older people becoming young again were light-hearted affairs, albeit often with a strong moral theme. That's not the case with this slow and dreary British film. No, it's grief all the way as we meet successful author Robyn (Quick) and her husband Oscar (Hill), living in a vast mansion paid for by Robyn's books, but with no children to show for their 50-year marriage.

Then a blast from the past, Jim (Jackson), who was once and briefly Robyn's lover, appears on their doorstep, looking just as he did decades earlier. He has invented Novus, a liquid that reverses the ageing process at the rate of a decade a month. For some reason, he only has a short supply and is unable to make more.

Robyn leaps at the chance of being young again and perhaps having a baby (has she considered the possible consequences?) but Oscar, who has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, isn't interested. And it's all downhill from then on, apart from what they are able to do for Jim's druggie daughter (Wolf).

'This business is just silly,' says Hill at one point, and of course he's right. And director Pretorius pays the penalty for such a tragic treatment of a subject that demands to be taken lightly. As a result, plotholes and implausibilities run riot. For example, how is Robyn going to get away with appearing 50 years younger at the launch of her latest book without Novus and its possibilities going worldwide?

Hill's touching performance, however, is very good. His is the only character here that touches our emotions.

David Quinlan

UK 2023. UK Distributor: Miracle Communications/Dark Matter (BFI). Colour (unspecified).
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 25 Jan 2024