The Time of their Lives

Certificate 12A

(2017) 104 mins

Director: Roger Goldby
Writer: Roger Goldby
Cinematography: James Aspinall
Production Design: Ana Viana
Music: Stephen Warbeck


Determined to gatecrash her ex-lover’s funeral on the glamorous French hideaway of Île-de-Ré, former Hollywood siren Helen (Joan Collins) escapes her London retirement home with the help of Priscilla (Pauline Collins), a repressed English housewife stuck in a dwindling marriage.  Pooling their limited resources, they hit the road in a race to get to Île-de-Ré, becoming entangled in a love triangle with a reclusive Italian millionaire (Franco Nero) along the way. On this unforgettable journey, they find true friendship in one another – and have the time of their lives.

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Though taking several predictable paths along the way (there’s even a contrived, comical scene where they get stoned) – the dynamic between Helen and Priscilla is what makes this a worthwhile piece of cinema. . . The roles are brought to life terrifically from the two leads, who have been so well cast in this instance. There’s a distinct vulnerability to Pauline Collins’ demeanour, and a blissful sense of naivety in the early stages that makes for an endearing character. Joan Collins, on the other hand, has been given a much more unlikeable role to get her teeth into, but it’s one she thrives in. . . Naturally there are some truly absurd plot twists, and if you were to be pedantic a fair few plot-holes to get frustrated about, but look, if you’re the sort of person who wants to see a romantic caper with Joan and Pauline Collins in it, then you’re unlikely to leave disappointed, for this film has been crafted specifically for this demographic.”

“The Collinses make an engaging double act and the strength of their performances goes a long way towards papering over some of the script’s shortcomings. The Time of Their Lives works best whenever its leading ladies are allowed to go a little off the rails – swearing at passing cars while hitchhiking, blithely making off with a stolen vehicle – and Joan reveals unexpected emotional depth during a showstopper of a singing scene that’s the highlight of the film. There’s also game support from Nero, whose commitment to onscreen nudity raises almost as many smiles as it does eyebrows.”

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