Dedicated to all the old people of today… and tomorrow

Wrinkles is a cartoon for grown ups.

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“Adapted from a comic strip by Paco Roca, this traditional cel animation from Spain is a surprising thing indeed – an intelligent, entertaining, altogether unsentimental evocation of the experience of old age. With its crisply drawn, unfussy visuals, Wrinkles is about Emilio, an elderly ex-bank manager who reluctantly enters a retirement home and tries to hide the onset of Alzheimer’s. Oh yes, all the joyous things are here – dementia, incontinence, callous adult offspring – and yet Wrinkles is a tender, life-affirming piece, mischievous although it never tries to package its theme in a falsely cheery Last of the Summer Wine fashion. The American dubbing is done by Martin Sheen, as sobersided Emilio, and Matthew Modine as his son – but the winning turn is by veteran George Coe, as charismatic and often downright obnoxious old cynic Miguel.”

Watch the trailer here:

This is what people say about it:

“An unsparing look at the winter of life, salted with humour and emotion.”

“The animation is simple but lovely.”

“There are some really charming moments of cheeky wit found within Wrinkles, and anybody that has experienced a loved one going through Alzheimer’s will surely find the material quite effecting.”

“An astonishing cocktail of friendship, resistance and life set among the unexpected landscape of an elderly care facility.”

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For me, it was a little too simple and predictable. However, it was still subtly powerful and lovely – he told this story from new angles which is important – you don’t often think about the fact the older people often lie when asked about their daily life in a home because they are embarrassed to tell you the truth. There was hints of rawness when we saw the old people queuing up to get ‘put to bed’ before dinner time had finished because there aren’t enough nurses to go around.  Perhaps I’ve been influenced by the sweep of Dispatches programmes commentating on the current state of care, euthanasia and ageing in the UK. But I do think every complex subject needs both a heavy and light narrative and this is what Wrinkles is. Light.

A film that definitely edges away from this into the heavier side of things is Amour, 2012 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, a film where an elderly couple finds their time-tested love challenged by the rigors of one’s fading health.

I am a huge fan of anything that encourages thinking and conversation around ageing, end of life and dying.  Watch these films. Encourage your siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbours and colleagues to watch them too.