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SBIFF

Pretty Old
updated: Jan 30, 2012, 7:15 AM

By the Dedicated Staff

Mention of beauty pageants can sometimes bring to mind hair spray and makeup and an unhealthy focus on physical beauty over depth. Pretty Old is a documentary which follows four women, ranging in age from 67-84, and the enthusiastic pageant founder, over the course of eleven days leading up to the 30th Annual Senior Sweetheart Beauty Pageant held in Fall River, Massachusetts.

While there is hair spray and makeup to be sure, there is so much more. These four women, and presumably the others participating in the pageant, come from diverse locations and backgrounds. They have all lived long lives, full of the joy and sorrow that life brings. And they have all found something of meaning here. The film shows them to be women of strength, who have not accepted the stereotypes of growing old. And while each has chosen to participate for her own reasons, they all have incredibly positive attitudes and energy about life. The message here seems to be more about attitude than about beauty pageants, because the beauty here is the real kind that comes from within.

During a lively Q&A, the glamorous gals shared their first foray into the beauty pageant world; some had competed in their younger days, others only later in life. All were vibrant, poised and supportive of each other. One woman had received her doctorate at age 71. Referring to her breast cancer battle, another joked that she has a sticker that says “of course their fake, the real ones tried to kill me." Applicants aged 58 and above are welcome to apply should anyone be so moved. In the pictures, they explain aging gracefully to the teen press.

Pretty Old will be playing on Wednesday at 11:00AM, and Thursday at 5:00PM, at the Metro.

Photos by Mahil Senathirajah

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