A 29-year old man who refuses to grow up meets an old high school friend at a wedding and romance blossoms over their shared fear of adulthood in Guy Pigden’s romantic drama Older.
Apparently, Older took 7 years to finally get made. It was crowdfunded before crowdfunding was a thing, and then went on to be re-shot 6 years after principal photography had finished, and that’s before the team behind Older had to get the feature film graded, edited, and premiered in the year of a worldwide pandemic. Kudos to Guy Pigden and his team, who managed to get Older out onto the film landscape and into our hands.
The first thing to note about Older is that it would have been 2013 when Guy Pigden first started filming it and that was smack bang in the middle of the hugely successful run of Judd Apatow films in which the main character (usually Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell or Paul Rudd) still had a lot of growing up to do. Pigden plays Alex Lucas – a promising film director who, after his first film took a critical panning, has stopped trying to make something of himself. He still lives at home with his parents and spends most of his time gaming, smoking, drinking, and womanising. A man-child in the Apatow sense, he spends 85 minutes of the 90-minute film searching for meaning, and direction while sleeping with two completely different women.
Pigden gives a really good performance as the directionless Alex, but because his character is handsome, very sure of himself, and actually quite good with women, we don’t feel the same sort of love for him as we would do for Apatow’s losers. He doesn’t have as much likeability and therefore garners less sympathy from the audience when things go wrong for him, although he does get his moment of redemption at the end. He is supported strongly by Astra McLaren’s vampish dream girl Stephanie, and the sweetly, caring and obvious girl of his dreams Jenny (Liesha Ward Knox).
The cinematography by Adam St John captures some beautiful imagery and manages to frame the pretty cast in intimate moments where they are making life-altering decisions. By framing a shot in certain ways, he is able to make even these smallest moments feel big. I also loved the scenes in the nightclub, particularly when Alex is drinking and taking drugs; the dizzying speed and colours all blending together to give the feeling of being on a complete bender.
Older is a patiently funny movie in the sense that it’s a little roomier than most comedies. I would guess this is because of the passage of time in making it. The first half is laugh-out -oud funny at times whereas the second half is less comedy and more about the feelings and growth of its characters. Pigden is confident enough in his directorial ability to let the time pass without going for the big laughs, while his script manages to extract moments of truth from real life. All of this allows the audience more time to watch our main character grow and focus on his attempts to confront his maturity.
Older is a great film to look at with an ingenious way of molding the old footage together with the new, leading to the film becoming a very enjoyable viewing experience.