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Age of Consent Review

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An elderly artist thinks he has become too stale and is past his prime. His friend (and agent) persuades him to go to an offshore island to try once more. On the island he re-discovers his muse in the form of a young girl.

★★★★★

A late bloom from Powell’s career, made in Australia when the only job he could get in England was for the Children’s Film Foundation. Fans of Sirens will be interested by this odd comedy-drama which scrambles the ingredients of that hit: a burned-out artist played by an often bare-chested James Mason in cut-off jeans rekindles his love for painting by retreating to an antipodean beach and making a close study of a ripening nymphet played by a young Helen Mirren. The girl’s mad granny runs around accusing Mason of being a “horrible old perve”, but the painter is focused on work rather than Mirren’s frequent nudity until the finale, which Powell must have enthusiastically endorsed as the ageing but virile artist joins the young girl in the surf for some spirited post-credits shagging. It has delirious moments as it luxuriates in the climate and the loose morals, and shows how Powell’s erotic concerns might have run their course if he had made the bulk of his films in an era which allowed comparatively explicit sex on the screen.

Erotic oddity from a latter day master of British Cinema

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