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What to see at Young At Heart (from an actual grandma)

Beatrice Smith

My grandma and I visit the cinema together about once a week. 

At the sprightly age of 82, my Grandma (yes, she’s a Granny Smith) is less of a knit-and-talk-about-the-weather older broad and more of a pour-me-another-glass-of-pinot-where’s-that-film-festival-program type of senior citizen and aside from disliking science fiction and fantasy films (her one flaw), this makes her a fantastic cinema buddy.

The Young at Heart Film Festival – the annual Senior’s Film Festival – is showing at Palace Cinemas until this Sunday 9 April and Grandma and I have already plotted out what we’d like to see most – on top of the French Film Festival and Italian Film Festival we’re having to be really strategic with our time. This is the time of year when cinema addicts really shine.

Even though Grandma will watch about anything, this carefully curated program is pointed squarely at her demographic so I thought I’d share her opinion as to what not to miss, in case you’d like to take along your favourite worldly soul.


The morale-boosting that went on behind the scenes in wartime Britain has always fascinated me (Keep Calm and Carry On, anyone?) and Grandma and I are both keen Anglophiles, having both lived in England, so this was a no-brainer.

If you’re in the same boat, or just can’t get enough of Bill Nighy (I know, that’s everyone) then go and buy your tickets to Their Finest now.


Viceroy’s House was the special pre-festival media screening and Grandma and I were there with bells on as it’s never beyond us to turn down free film tickets (or free snacks as Grandma was delighted to find).

This was never going to be one to miss anyway as my Grandfather’s career started with a posting in India in the early 1960s, when the scars from Partition (where a newly independent India was cleaved in two by the exiting British in order to calm tensions between the Muslim and Hindu populations, creating Pakistan) were still raw. Grandma was pleased to find that Director Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) painted the last days of English rule as truthfully (and brutally) as necessary while still leaving warmth there for us to connect with.

Gillian Anderson was also simply brilliant as the fabulously modern Edwina Mountbatten and I was delighted to see Manish Dayal (The Hundred Foot Journey) in a main role again.


Taking another trip around the globe (perhaps a smart marketing tactic for an audience whose globetrotting abilities are limited…?) we’re landing in Ireland this time, circa the 1920s, for The Secret Scripture.

When Rooney Mara, Eric Bana, Aiden Turner and Vanessa Redgrave are embroiled in a mystery about whether a woman has been wrongfully imprisoned in a mental institution for some 50 years you have…a film I am dying to see.

the essentials 

What: Young At Heart Film Festival 2017
When: Until Sunday 9 April
Where: Palace Electric, 2 Phillip Law Street, NewActon


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author