When I'm 64:
Two men of a certain age discover that they want the same things from their golden years: adventure. Could there be a gay subtext in a geriatric buddy bond?
Scene 1: Am I watching an Amazon preview? This doesn't seem at all the same movie. The elderly Ray (Paul Freeman) enters a bar, and is greeted by a group of gangsters discussing past violence. About 20 of them rush out to chase someone -- a rival gang member? -- screaming and brandishing bats. Ray and his mate Billy "One Punch" join them, but can't run well because of their age. They discuss retiring from the hired thug business, but they're needed.
(Left: not the right Paul Freeman, but who cares?)
They meet the rival gang in the street, and there's a gigantic brawl, everyone punching and kicking and beating each other. The police in riot gear intervene.
Cut to Jim at a swimming pool by himself, on the high dive. He's afraid to jump, but he promised himself that he would try new things before he dies. Whew, I needed a break after all that violence.
Scene 2: Ray and his friends at lunch, discussing the battle. It wasn't like the old days -- then, there was some real bloodshed! And we used to be able to smoke and drink all we wanted. Now we have to watch our diets. Plot dump: it's been eight year since Ray's wife died. There's always a dead wife, but this time I'll give it a pass because Ray is old. And he works as a taxi driver.
Cut to Jim (Alun Armstrong), who is retiring from his job as Latin teacher at a boys' school at the "ripe old age of 65." Plot dump: he's been there his whole life, since the War (what war was Britain fighting in 1982?
) After an assembly in his honor, he heads out, and is picked up by his cab -- driven by Ray! He has Ray drive him to a medical clinic.
(Left: Alun Armstrong, back in the day. Were we ever that young?)
Ray washing his car. Whoops -- his last fare left his jacket, and his Bucket List ("see the world; fall in love"). Cut to Sunday brunch with Ray and his bickering, unpleasant children and grandchildren: Chiefly his son, Little Ray (Jason Flemying), who is married to Kaz. There's also a daughter and son-in-law, who barely appear again; I can't find them in the IMDB.
The argument appears to be about Ray adamantly opposing his grandson's admission to Harrow, an elite private school: he''ll forget his working-class roots, turn posh, and learn to hate his grandpa
Scene 4: Ray tracks down Jim at the medical clinic, where he's just gotten a nose job, returns the jacket, and gives him his business card, in case he needs a cab when he's released. Got a little crush on the wanker? But I thought you hated the posh lot.
Cut to Ray babysitting while his son and daughter in law pop down to the village for a ruby. Son suggests that he's too old for the taxi game, and should retire. Growl, growl, I'm not old! Later, Ray is at the pub, playing pool with his mates, thinking about his immanent death. Do old people really ruminate on their mortality a lot?
Suddenly his phone rings. It's Jim, wanting a ride. Overjoyed, he springs up and rushes to his car.
Scene 5: Picking up Jim. They discuss his plan to see the world, starting with Botswana. But first a couple of weeks with his father -- who is lying on the ground! They call for an ambulance (free in Britain, $4,000 in America).
Cut to Ray bringing coffee to Jim in hospital. After sitting with him a bit, Ray goes to visit his grandson. But Kaz won't let him due to his involvement in the battle in Scene 1: "You're a hooligan again? If Harrow finds out, they'll drop him from the program!" A little harsh, innit?
Scene 6: Ray picks up Jim at the hospital and brings him home. Whoops, he forgot his bag. Got to go back and return it to him. Jim, starting to notice the attention, asks Ray to give him driving lessons, but Ray refuses. (you expect him to leave things in the back of your cab forever?).
Scene 7: Ray in bed when his grandson drops by to talk about the family squabbles; "I'm not supposed to see you."
Scene 8: Ray drops in on Jim in the midst of painting a room (in a tie? without taking anything out of the room first?). He's so inept that Ray offers to do it. They have tea. It seems obvious that working-class Ray is interested in elite, sophisticated Jim. I'll be awfully upset if either of them gets a girlfriend.
Suddenly Ray asks "Are you a loofter?" A variant of poofter? The word is not in any dictionary of British slang. Jim isn't sure, but "I think I might be." He's not sure, at the age of 65, after 40 years of teaching Latin? The ancient Romans knew that gay people exist! Ray is shocked, but he continues drinking his tea.
Ray and his wife used to have Chinese food every Wednesday. He hasn't had any since she died, and Jim has never had it, so...
Scene 9: Chinese restaurant. Aww...their first date.
Scene 10: Eager for a change, Jim shaves his moustache and burns all his clothes. Ray comes by to take him shopping for a new wardrobe. By the way, you complement someone's outfit by saying "mintos," to which they should respond "not many."
Uh-oh, Jim grabs Ray's hand. The homophobe grimaces and rushes in to attack, but stops himself and just rushes away. He forgets to pay for his new clothes, but rushes out anyway.
Scene 11: Back home, Little Ray and Kaz wonder where Ray has been the last few weeks, and why he has new clothes. He must have a girlfriend who's grifting him. Grr -- of course not! He storms out.
Scene 12: Jim calls to apologize. "It's ok...just a misunderstanding." They have a lengthy conversation that seems to last all day. By nightfall Ray reveals that when he was young, a boy kissed him...and he liked it.
They kiss, then take off their clothes. (Bare chests, no nudity). Neither has any idea what else to do -- so Jim hasn't been with anyone before?
Dating montage. They decide to tell Ray's family that they're in a relationship during the big party coming up.
Scene 14: Little Ray sees the two eating dinner, and is overcome with homophobia: "It's disgusting, sick, horrible!" Kaz: "Was your relationship with my mother a lie?" Wait --I thought Kaz was the daughter-in-law, married to Ray's son?
Ray denies it: "Being gay is disgusting! We were just celebrating beating up a gay person." He calls and breaks up with Jim.
Scene 15: Ray being depressed and breaking things.
Scene 16: Jim shows up at the party to say goodbye: he's fallen in love, so now it's time for the next item on his bucket list, "see the world." At the last moment, Ray decides to go with him.
Beefcake: Jim in his underwear.
Brawl: I think the battle in Scene 1 is about "football hooligans": fans of rival teams try to kill each other. The deadliest battle in history, after El Salvador and Honduras played for the World Cup in 1969, lasted for 4 days and resulted in over 2,000 deaths.
Coming Out: I can see working-class Ray not knowing that he's bisexual, but Jim never figuring out that he's gay? As a Latin teacher in London?
Coming Out: The "figuring it out" plotline is overused, but I've never seen it with old people before, except on Roseanne in the 1990s.
Homophobia: This movie premiered in 2004, which may explain the homophobic reactions of the family. No doubt they would be far more nonchalant about it today.
My Grade: B.