I read this book many moons ago and didn’t particularly like it. Sean’s 92 year old Grandma read it too and she didn’t like it either, because the book made fun of former presidents, and she’d “lived through all that.” Though if you can’t make fun of anything that happened during her nearly 93 years, it’s reduced me to cracking plague jokes and doing neanderthal bits.
I wasn’t overly excited about seeking this out when it became a movie, but out of respect for its Oscar-nominated makeup job, I decided to give it a go.
It literally is about an old man named Allan who, on his 100th birthday, avoids his nursing home many-candled cake by climbing out a window. He doesn’t exactly disappear though – at least, not to us. We follow him out the window and on to an incredible series of events, including a suitcase full of drug money and a homicidal elephant, which is still secondary to the other trip he takes, the one down memory lane.
It turns out Allan has led a pretty incredible life, in part because his love of blowing shit up, and in part because he’s routinely been in the right place at the right time.
It stars Robert Gustafsson, a well-known comedian and actor in Sweden, who just happened to be less than half a century old when he shot this film. This presented a real challenge to the team who did the makeup and prosthetics as we see Allan not just as a centenarian, but through many decades of his life thanks to a series of flashbacks.
Whether or not you like this film will depend a lot on your tolerance for absurdist humour. There are high-jinks upon high-jinks here, and they add up to a sweet film with some chuckles that obviously has some appeal, but the movie, like the book, left me feeling like it should have been so much more.