From left, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Ann-Margret in “Going in Style” (2017). Atsushi Nishijima

It’s getting colder and darker, and soon it will be snowing, and you’re not going to want to venture out of your living room.

Here is your chance, and like chances of all sorts, it often only comes once in a lifetime. The film, a remake of an old 1979 movie, is “Going in Style,” directed by Zach Braff and typed by Theodor Melfi.

This story, light and colorful as an autumn leaf, comes with a bonus — three very famous and exceptional actors.

We meet these life long buddies: Willie, (Morgan Freeman) Albert (Alan Arkin) and Joe (Sir Michael Caine.)

Thank God, these Oscar winners, with life still pouring through their veins, were available.

And here they are.


Willie and Albert share an apartment, easy chairs and a television. Joe lives across the street. Life for them is slow and uneventful, and the tiny pensions cover little more than the light and phone bills.

Into this calm, the three buddies are suddenly confronted with bad news. The company where they had all worked their lives away for years is being shipped away from right under their noses.

These workers, most of whom are veterans, are told that the company is moving to VIETNAM! Say what?

Worse, the company is dissolving their pension funds, leaving hundreds of men, including our three heroes, with a future full of winters, watching re-runs of “Bachelorette.”

Willie spends his afternoons in dialysis, and is given less than a year to live unless he gets a transplant.

Albert, the grumpiest, has apparently saved his money and is safe.


Joe is in big trouble. Because of poor management, crippling upgrades and, we learn, malfeasance at the bank, Joe is about to lose his house.

This will be bad news for his divorced daughter and granddaughter (Siobhan Hogan and Joey King).

Joe comes up with a plan. They will rob the bank that is involved in cheating him.

Obviously, they need guidance. With most bank robbers in prison, Joe comes up with a friend, “a low life.” (John Ortiz)

The supporting cast is the icing here, with friendly faces, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, (Yes, Ann-Margret), Kenan Thompson (SNL, “Keenan & Kel”), and an always hilarious Christopher Lloyd.

The robbery is carefully planned; the details provide most of the laughs and a few tears.


“Going in Style” won’t bring other Oscars for these three stars, or the writer Theodore Melf. It is a soufflé, yes, but a tasty one.

We are distracted from cliches and the overworked finale, by watching three cinematic magicians pull aging rabbits out of their ball caps, and the biggest rabbit of all in the finale.

Remember, this is Alan Arkin of “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” Morgan Freeman of “Shawshank Redemption” and Sir Michael Caine of “Batman Begins.” We are in the presence of greatness.

By the way, watch out for the adorable tiny Asian girl in the bank.

“Going in Style” streams on Netflix.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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