Golden Girls meets Workers’ Daily, Laura Gabbert’s compassionate, thoughtful doc captures a lively senescent friendship. A former social worker, Lucille Alpert, 95, meets Irja Lloyd, 81, who taught special education, at Sunset Hall, a retirement home for political progressives in Los Angeles (its library boasts large-print editions of the complete works of Lenin). With her sanguine disposition, wheelchair-bound Lloyd (“Everything gives me pleasure”) balances the vinegary, wry, bewigged Alpert (“She has a genius for visualizing all possible disasters,” says the nonagenarian’s dutiful son Paul). “I’m Thoreau and she’s Emerson,” Alpert notes of their contrasting sensibilities, revealed during conversations at Langer’s Deli, the nail salon, a protest against HMOs, and Sunset Hall’s dining facility. Although physically frail, these gray panthers are blessed with nimble minds and resilient spirits. After mourning a great loss, Lloyd is soon back out on the streets, joining the Global Women’s Strike. Her prescient chant? “Save Social Security!”
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