“THE SECOND TIME AROUND”— Finding Love Again

“The Second Time Around”

Finding Love Again

Amos Lassen

Katherine Mitchell (Linda Thorson) is a widowed and vibrant senior who certainly wasn’t looking for love a second time and  not at her age, and not with grumpy Isaac Shapiro (Stuart Margolin).  She is convalescing after breaking her hip and the other seniors at the same place are noisy. In trying to escape that noise, she listens to the music she loves and discovers Isaac. As they spend time together, they find love and plan to fulfill Katherine’s lifelong dream of going to the opera in Milan.

Directed and cowritten by Leon Marr, Isaac and Katherine, meet when Katherine recuperates after a bad fall that lands her in an assisted-living facility in an unnamed Toronto. She is a WASPY opera lover from a wealthy background, who 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 assisted living residence is a hotbed of griping and card-playing and Katherine resents being dumped there by her overworked daughter (Laura de Carteret) but does get visits from her 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 differences, so the script has to work extra-hard to do so.

This is the story of unexpected sparks that fly between two unlikely mature souls that find the one comfort they treasure–opera music–and use it as a foundation for finding solid romance with one another.  The film explores the familiar themes of developing mutual attraction and it is quite refreshing to witness folks of an advanced age connecting.  

Basically this is a pedestrian romantic story about vibrant oldsters re-establishing love that has been dormant. The film effectively resonates because of the two veteran leads— Linda Thorson and Stuart Margolin. Baby-boomers may recall these performers from their extensive work on television from yesteryear.  Thorson was the youthful and curvaceous replacement for Diana Riggs’s iconic and sleek sidekick Emma Peel on the immensely popular British ’60s spy TV series “The Avengers.” Margolin, is the Emmy Award-winning supporting actor from the ’70s detective TV series “The Rockford Files”.   

Katherine Mitchell had to give up her living arrangement independence at her own place and go to a senior citizen convalescent home after a nasty fall downstairs when leaving the opera. Her rehab assignment includes socializing among her fellow older peers. Katherine finds the residents rather charming and approachable. In particular, widower Isaac Shapiro makes an unusual impression within the bunch. Abruptly abrasive at times, the retired tailor and Holocaust survivor shares an interest with Katherine as she continues to nurse her injured hip. Their mutual adoration for opera music is what gradually brings the two widowed individuals closer emotionally. They are quite the odd couple with their love for operatic song and spirit. Both are understandably wounded but the lyrically soothing and sensual vibes of opera are the healing source for the couple’s bereavement. Both Katherine and Isaac gradually learn to let their guards down and permit their hearts to operate and get past vulnerability. In this case, opposites attract and Marr resourcefully uses the simplicity of making the music a therapeutic security blanket for the aging lovers to newly discover affection for one another. Katherine and Isaac really have a genuine and authentic feel for finding their footing in the name of elusive love and longing.  

This quite basically is the story of late-blooming love story between a pair of mismatched seniors who become devoted soulmates through opera and operational isolation. Both Thorson and Margolis are wonderful and it is so nice to have a romantic movie  for the over-60 crowd.