Overview: This overview is straight from HBO’s press release: In a longtime ritual, retirees from the Northeast have fled the cold for life in Florida, seeking better weather and a less-stressful lifestyle. During the 1970s, with an affordable down payment, they could become condominium owners at Kings Point in Delray Beach, Fla. Today, most of the seniors there are well into their 70s and 80s, and many have been living in the resort for decades. This film tells the stories of five seniors living there.
Directed by Emmy®-nominated editor Sari Gilman, (pictured below) the film was prompted by the fact that her grandmother resided at King’s Point. The first time director states, “It is their lives and their voices that, for me, have come to represent the universal longing for human connection, and the complexities of aging in a society that extols the virtue of self-reliance.”
Expectations: This is not going to be, obviously, an infomercial for the Kings Point Retirement Village. It will serve more as a commentary on how the United States treats its elderly and how those in the twilight of their years feel about their lives and their advance years. It should also show how they cope with the frailties and loneliness that can consume a once vibrant life. But, hopefully, amongst those filmed for this documentary is someone that is enjoying the ‘golden years’ and can still find relationships and activities to make life still worth living.
As the last of the Baby Boomer generation heads into the elder years, the need to take care of our senior citizens becomes a larger task. I expect that this film will offer some kernel of warning that these people should not be abandoned and forgotten in some posh retirement home but still valued as family. I wait to see exactly what approach KINGS POINT takes towards that theme and will complete this piece upon viewing this Oscar nominated documentary.
Review: It did not take ninety minutes or even sixty to raise some impact with this film, it only took thirty. The impact also came, for me, with just a few quotes from the citizens of Kings Point. “It’s always about self-preservation;” “everyone is out for themselves;” “there are no good friends just good acquaintances at this age.” Add to that a number of quotes about just getting by to fill up your days or not getting to close so as not to get hurt again and eventually the point hits home. It is the sad feeling that these people just exist, forgotten by family.
And though, the message I expected to hear was one of family abandonment that was not the prevalent theme of the film. Family was mentioned briefly and family even stopped by for one lady but the elders have moved past bemoaning that issue. They are more into a survival mode; more into filling their days and to Kings Point’s credit there did seem to be plenty of activities there. I’m sure this documentary will have a different effect on the viewer depending on one’s age bracket but, just remember they are us and we will be them.
In Conclusion: Even though the theme I expected was not the dominant viewpoint the half-hour did raise the issue indirectly. Clearly, these people are not truly happy or content but it is what it is. Everyone should see this short but concise glimpse of how many of us will end up some day and hope for the nice village as opposed to an ‘old folk’s home’.
KINGS POINT also airs 03.14 (9:00 a.m.), 03.16 (9:30 a.m.), 03.19 (1:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 03.22 (4:30 p.m.) and 03.24 (6:15 p.m.) HBO2 playdates are 03.13 (8:00 p.m.), 03.23 (7:35 a.m.) and 03.26 (5:40 a.m.)