After an accidental kitchen fire, independent widow Helen (Ellen Burstyn) reluctantly agrees to move into a retirement home for one month while her house undergoes repairs.
At the home, Helen discovers the cliques are worse than those from high school as she encounters the “mean girls with medical bracelets,” in our next Shuswap Film Society movie Queen Bees.
The Queen Bees make it clear they “run the joint” at Pine Grove. They are led by bossy Janet (Jane Curtin) and consist of sweet-natured Sally (Loretta Devine) and man-crazy, on the lookout for husband number 6, Margot (Ann-Margret). Helen’s strong personality clashes with the in-group and she puts them in their place, but eventually she wins them over and new friendships flourish. In the meantime she is being wooed by the debonair new arrival, Dan (James Caan).
There’s a lot going on in the old retirement home. You might think it contrived if it wasn’t based on the experiences of one of the producers’ grandmother. The movie is charming and has a good heart but be prepared for a few cliches and obvious jokes around incontinence and Viagra, and of course a cannabis scene. And yet it still manages to touch gently and sympathetically on the heavy and inescapable challenges around aging.
Packed with iconic senior actors, Queen Bees is a joy to watch. The main message of the movie is to remind us that, as we age, life is still capable of surprising us.
Queen Bees is a co-presentation with the Salmar and runs for six days, Oct. 15-21, 7:30 p.m. at the Classic. Vaccine passports required.
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