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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Traveling North
Directed by Carl Schultz
M.C.E.G./Sterling 06/87 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13

This Australian film is an entertaining and edifying journey into old age. After retiring from his construction job, Frank (Leo McKern), a widower, takes his lover Frances (Julia Blake) to live in the tropical paradise of North Queensland, Australia. Their idyllic life consists of fishing, reading, and listening to classical music. Nearing 70, Frank learns that his chest pains are the result of angina. Stubborn and opinionated, he studies the disease and sets up his own recovery program, much to the dismay of his doctor. His gruffness toward a local World War II veteran embarasses Frances. Then his critical comments about her grown daughters send her back to Melbourne. Left alone in his paradise, Frank does some soul-searching and sees how he has hurt those he loves the most. As octogenarian writer Florida Scott Maxwell has observed about old age: "Our accustomed shell cracks here, cracks there, and that tiresomely rigid person we supposed to be ourselves stretches, expands." Frank reforms and wins Frances back. The bully in him falls away, and he moves toward the blessing of a finely finished death. This excellent film is directed by Carl Schultz. It offers equal doses of tears and laughter as it handles the difficult subject of aging with sensitivity.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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