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Movie Review: 'The Over the Hill Band'

An occasionally amusing, emotionally sound Belgian dramedy that never quite jells into the winning look at senior citizens and second chances that was clearly intended.

March 11, 2011|By Gary Goldstein

"The Over the Hill Band" is an occasionally amusing, emotionally sound Belgian dramedy that never quite jells into the winning look at senior citizens — and second chances — that was clearly intended. Still, older audiences might appreciate the movie's good intentions and never-too-late spirit.

After Claire (Marilou Mermans) loses her prickly husband to a sudden heart attack, she decides to reunite her old singing group, the Sisters of Love. While it's a good excuse for Claire to perform again with now-fellow septuagenarians Magda (Lea Couzin) and Lutgard (Lut Tomsin) after a half-century away from the stage, it's also a ploy to reconnect with her down-and-out, semi-estranged musician son, Alexander (Jan Van Looveren), whose help she enlists to restart the group.

He reluctantly agrees, renames the rusty gals the Over the Hill Band and demands they sing his hip-hop-infused arrangements. The ladies' learning curve is steep — and entertaining.

Unfortunately, writers Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Chris Craps and director Geoffrey Enthoven aren't content to simply let us enjoy the band's loopy progress, the droll musical bits and several familiarly wacky oldster moments. Instead, they weave in a sad twist plus a few tired conflicts involving Claire's more steadfast son, Michel (Lucas Van Den Eynde), and her fling with an elderly Don Juan (Michel Israel).

Couldn't the girls just have fun?


"The Over the Hill Band." No MPAA rating. In Flemish with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes. In limited release.

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