Can something be smug and heartfelt? After seeing three or four elderly dying person movies in the last few weeks, I am wary of how heartfelt any of them have been. Instead the dying relative is a universal way of ticking the viewers emotional boxes, we have all been there or fear it. Big Fish sentimentalised it, Pieces Of April used it to illustrate needless bitterness. The Barbarian Invasions treats it as part of life, and is probably the most honest despite the rest of the films overall smug tone.

The tone oscillates wildly from satire to sentiment, never really nailing either of these extremes. It is much better when it elucidates the effects of long-term friendships and relationships. The forays into grand statements about the world are rather transparent, as the characters themselves would probably agree. Running down the list of various political causes they had flirted with throughout their lives is amusing and also an illustration of both the dynamism of their thought and the dilettantism of the bourgeoisie. It is interesting what it suggests of the younger cast members, perhaps obsessed with price and value or just with not being their parents. I kept on getting really distracted though when the mulleted bloke from La Femme Nikita kept popping up though.