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Camilla Review

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While Camilla's (Tandy) son and Freda's (Fonda) husbands are out of town, the pair set off on a road trip, prompting a panicked search by their male folk and much female soul searching.

★★★★★

After a distinguished theatrical career, the late Jessica Tandy found movie stardom in the last years of her life, copping an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy, and became a high-profile spunky old-dear in Cocoon and Fried Green Tomatoes. This final vehicle, which movingly casts her long-time hubby Hume Cronyn in a surprisingly studly role, is pretty fragile overall, but Tandy (gamely doing a nude scene in her 80s) is beyond criticism.

In a contrived set-up which takes a long time to get together, Camilla (Tandy), a sprightly old soul full of far-fetched stories about her glamorous life as a violin virtuoso, takes to the road with Freda (Fonda) an aimless young woman with dreams of being a composer. Camilla's sleazy movie producer son (Maury Chaykin) and Freda's uptight graphic artist husband (Koetas) try to find the pair, under the impression Camilla has been kidnapped. Left to their own devices, the two women trek from Georgia to Toronto, have adventures and prod each other to fulfil frustrated fantasies.

Though unashamedly not a slick Hollywood film, this faceless Canadian picture isn't willing to go for the grit like a real road movie. Every eccentric who pops up turns out to be harmless and there's no feel for the wonders, horrors and banalities of the American Dream Tandy is pursuing. While the scenes between Tandy and Fonda crackle with thespian activity, the dialogue keeps fizzling out. Still, the female leads have a genuine glow, and Tandy's love scene with Cronyn is a real charmer.

A flawed road movie, but a charming performance from Tandy makes it a respectable end to a distinguished career.