On the face of it, A Touch of Grey, had the chance to be an understated work of intelligence. Its premise is to reunite four women after twenty-five years. The former high school friends would compare notes, and with a comedic angle, examine one another’s lives.
That was on the face of it, at least. Instead the early moments in the film are far from funny. Cringe, yes, but not in a deliberate way. Less The Office and more like it’s been produced by people that normally work in a paper mill.
Terrible camera work is only spared the title of worst element by the dire dialogue. Clichéd, forced and delivered by actresses that prove why some are suited to commercials and others meant for the big screen.
The soundtrack would have sounded bad on a bad seventies daytime TV show even back in the seventies. The little snippets of this remove you further from anything remotely natural feeling – if that’s at all possible, with the jarring conversation that sounds like a primary school student has written it for a lazy homework piece.
In the early going, it’s understandable if you give up before the thirty-minute mark. After all, there’s still time to press Stop on the player and find another movie. But then enters our fourth and final woman. Angela Asher’s Liz saves the setup from descending into something even worse.
She delivers her lines in the informal but natural way they were intended. The bigger life issues come up. Suddenly it’s not middle-aged women acting like they think girls do on a get together, but relatable issues we all face.
It begins to feel less forced, more natural especially when Barb opens up her heart. This is another saving grace because up until this point the actress who plays Barb, Maria del Mar, was the figurehead of the film. She was carrying a failing concept on her back and was looking as broken as her character.
Her little nuances and facial expressions give the depth to the later scenes that were wasted early on. The gloss is removed and it actually goes a little dark. If the initial annoying stages were set to act as a contrast, it was unnecessary, what follows is poignant enough.
It goes from touching, Patti breaking down about age catching up with her body but her mind feeling young. To the ridiculous, when Barb puts a lemon in Patti’s eye to disguise her tears from the others.
It is moving, just about. It suffers from all the additional and unnecessary components the filmmakers assumed were required to get it on film. These only serve to detract from the core messages.
It should have been played out as if on stage, delivered in monologue rather than moanalong.
The final third of the film saves it from a terrible score. Although it should feel lucky it hasn’t suffered a lower mark in spite of this.