Duty Free: Review

Duty Free

Sian-Pierre Regis grew up with his mother and his little brother in an apartment that was only ever meant for one. Regis’s mother worked in the hotel that was in the same building that they called home and she’d been working there for over 30 years.

Then one day she gets fired and her life is completely torn apart. Faced with the prospect of having to find a new job at 75 years old and still having to deal with bills and payments on her home, she was starting to feel like life was not worth living.

Sian-Pierre had always been close to his mother and the idea that the most important person in his life was feeling so low made him decide to do something special.

Asking her to draw up a bucket list, Regis then found a way to fund his mother’s wishes as they set out to do the things that she’s always wanted to do, but never had time.

Duty Free is a documentary from journalist Sian-Pierre Regis which is about as feel good as it is close to home. What could have been an uplifting and life changing documentary instead turns into something more substantial as Regis talks to his mother about her life, her regrets and wishes and about how America treats its senior citizens.

Looking back on her life, Regis’s mother talks about moving from Liverpool, England to America, marrying and divorcing the love of her life and raising her two boys, the youngest one which developed schizophrenia and having to help him out emotionally as well as financially. Not to mention revealing some parts of her life that she regrets the most.

However, for all the ups and downs that Duty Free gives, the documentary is never patronising by giving an old lady the best time that she never had, nor does it allow itself to dwell too much on how her life got to the point where we meet her. Instead, Sian-Pierre Regis has given a loving portrayal from a loving son of a mother whose life has been well lived.

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