28 November 2008 | ruthierocks
A sweet, under-appreciated road film combining drama, comedy, and romance.
Camilla is an adorable road film, combining a perfect mixture of drama, romance, and some comedy thrown in for good measure. It's a surprise for me to see so few reviews on this lovely little film. The film is about people, their relationships, and their passions. It's a fascinating character study of a young couple and an elderly woman who all need a little bit of a vacation from life.
Bridget Fonda plays Freda Lopez, a young, married woman who dreams of musical stardom. She plays guitar and sings, but she's had to put this passion on the back burner in order to support her husband Vince (Elias Koteas). The two of them have just moved south and into a small house next to an old woman named Camilla (Jessica Tandy, in one of her last roles). Camilla is also a musician she used to play violin and, according to her stories, was quite famous on tour. Freda immediately connects with Camilla and begins to spend time getting to know and talking to the woman. At the same time, her husband is spending time with Camilla's son Harold (Maury Chaykin), who swears that his mother is senile and needs to be put into a home. When Vince announces that he's going to Canada for a work related trip that he's received thanks to Harold, Freda refuses to go with him. This causes a fight between the couple. Vince and Harold go alone. With the men gone, Freda and Camilla decide to take a little trip of their own. They head to Canada to see a violin concerto. When the men get back, they must follow their hearts to find the women.
The acting is superb here. I've always liked Bridget Fonda and I wish she would get back on the screen. She is simply adorable here. Freda is a good character: she's strong willed, knows what she believes in, but has a little self discovering to do. Bridget Fonda is excellent in this role. I couldn't imagine anyone else doing a better job. Elias Koteas, who is always wonderful, is equally good as her husband. He's not given a lot to do here, but he plays it the best he can given the material. As Camilla's son, Maury Chaykin is very effective. He embodies the angry Harold perfectly. The real standout here, though, is Jessica Tandy. It's easy to see that, even as an old woman, she was confident enough in herself to play this role as if she were young even doing a nude scene! Camilla is a great character she's funny, sweet, and extremely sharp for her age. Jessica Tandy is perfect here.
The film is a little predictable, but it's still very sweet. It provides several laughs and shows a realistic relationship between an elderly woman and a younger, more composed version of herself. It's a story about life, love, and how we as humans sometimes have the wrong priorities in life. Camilla is an easy film to watch a nice, light film that can easily entertain and lift a person's spirits. With good acting, a sweet story, and a nice message, Camilla is an underrated gem of a film that should be appreciated more than it is.