Starring Linda Thorson and Stuart Margolin. Rated PG
Love is lovelier the second time around. So sang Frank, and it’s a mark of storytelling obviousness that the tune (by Sinatra regulars Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen) is quoted halfway into the movie of the same name.
Directed and cowritten by Leon Marr, who hasn’t made a theatrical feature since 1986’s Dancing in the Dark, this Time Around is an amiable, TV-grade vehicle for Canadian actors of a certain age. Stuart Margolin and Linda Thorson play Isaac and Catherine, old-timers who meet when the latter has a bad fall that lands her in an assisted-living facility in an unnamed Toronto.
A WASP-y opera lover from a wealthy background, she initially gets on the grouchy side of Isaac, a Holocaust survivor and lifelong tailor who has simply been biding his time (and drinking) since his wife died some years earlier. The place is a hotbed of griping and card-playing, peopled by such recognizable faces as those of Jayne Eastwood, Paul Soles, and the late Don Francks.
Catherine resents being dumped there by her overworked daughter (Laura de Carteret) but does get visits from her punky grandchild (Alexis Harrison), who brings her an opera-loaded iPod. This, in turn, is shared with Isaac, who doesn’t know from Verdi but remembers old Yiddish lullabies. Not much is made of the new duo’s chalk-and-gefilte-fish differences, so the script has to work extra-hard to keep them apart once the romance heats up.
The dialogue, while delivered with appropriate good humour, can be remarkably slapdash in the exposition department. There’s nothing particularly visual about the movie, and Marr’s attempt to impose a stylized set piece at the very end of such an unassuming venture is a silly misstep.
Still, it’s a pleasant vehicle for Rockford Files veteran Margolin, who’s good when his shtick settles in, and especially for Thorson, who still has a nice supply of the screen zip she showed when, daringly enough, she replaced Diana Rigg in The Avengers.