‘Waltzing Anna’


You can despise the shabby care given in cut-rate assisted-living facilities, you can bemoan the lack of substantial films either about or for people over 60, and you can appreciate the big heart and noble intentions that went into a modest cinematic labor of love called Waltzing Anna—and still find the movie a maudlin horror, a perfect storm in which Patch Adams capsizes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Sporting a rumpled coif that threatens to turn into a Flock of Seagulls flopover, actor-writer-producer Robert Capelli Jr. plays a disgraced doctor reassigned to a nursing home that’s shady in more ways than the arboreal. Under the influence of a caring-cutie nurse (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and the lovably quirky patients (including consummate pros Pat Hingle and Betsy Palmer), he redeems himself by standing up to the crooked administrator ( Murphy Brown‘s Grant Shaud). The filmmakers care; the actors try; the closing dedication is heartfelt and sweet. The movie, sadly, is an IV drip of artery-clogging Lifetime movie-of-the-week goo. You’ll know when the hero’s heart has truly changed—he combs his hair.