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Advanced Style - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Advanced Style
Directing: B
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+

One might wonder whether Advanced Style could have been made in any other city in America. Perhaps somewhere in the South? Dallas? The difference is that the women profiled would tend to be a little more homogenized. There's just something about New York City that produces so many truly singular people. It crosses ethnic and gender and -- here in particular -- age boundaries.

But then there's the blog that the concept for this film started as. At present, its entries, which started in New York, are featuring women in cities all over the country. Some of the most recent, completely coincidentally (I swear, I looked it up after writing the previous paragraph), feature women attending the film's premiere in Dallas.

The idea, a brainchild of blogger/photographer Ari Seth Cohen, began on the streets of New York City, where Cohen found himself enthralled by the elderly women using the sidewalks as their public runways for beautiful and elegant outfits. Think Humans of New York -- which, om Facebook, Advanced Style actually predates by three years -- but focusing on beautiful older women. Cohen singles out any such woman who appears to be over fifty.

And it has become a genuine movement. One of Cohen's subjects actually became one of the faces of an ad campaign for K-mart. It spawned a book in 2012, and now, a documentary. The film, clocking in at a breezy 72 minutes and directed by Lina Plioplyte, reveals these women as inspirations without belaboring the point. Plioplyte allows their humanity to come through, in all their beautiful imperfections. In the sequence in which several of the women are guests on The Ricki Lake Show, one seemingly demure women reveals herself to be quite the ham.

These are not just funny old ladies, though -- far from it. These are individuals even middle-aged people might see and declare they want to be like when they grow up. I know I do. These ladies are honest about the physical limitations of advanced age ("Whatever I have two of, one hurts"), but they also reveal a liberation in aging that is rarely seen anywhere, let alone at the movies.

Advanced Age selects a handful of these women, many of whom became fixtures on the blog and recognizable worldwide, and essentially allows them each in turn to introduce themselves to us. We see them in their homes, or in their careers (a few own clothing stores, naturally), or otherwise in their element -- walking the streets in fabulous outfits. Each of them, in their own way, gets to say, "This is who I am." And they all have a particular poise about them, it really doesn't matter how old they are -- the ages range up to 95 -- they offer hope for a future in which we've found ourselves and can run out the years in contented fabulousness.

Elegant New York women over fifty are profiled in ADVANCED STYLE.

Overall: B+
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