I had been thinking for a while about pulling together, with the help of readers, a definitive and ongoing list of films either about getting older or which treat older characters with as much integrity and respect as those of other age groups.
Then I recently heard from Ziv Schteinberg who has already done it or, rather, has made a good start with a list of 31 films about aging that are available on DVD.
Ziv has included some documentaries which I would place in a separate category from drama, comedy, etc. I was pleased to see that he includes Seconds, a favorite B movie of mine from 1966, which contains one of the few sex scenes (mild, no nudity) ever filmed with elder actors.
There is also a touching sex scene with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment from 1983. It too is short and tame and lovely, showing the actors standing in silhouette on either side of the bed with his paunch and her later life chubbiness clearly visible.
For this scene alone, I would include Terms of Endearment on my personal list of elder movies, but it is also a good late-life love story although that is not its primary focus.
When the DVD becomes available, Ziv will need to update his list with The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club (which Susan Harris of Takoma Gardener recently reviewed here), and I would add both Mrs. Henderson Presents and Space Cowboys.
So here is my challenge to you today:
- Take a look at Ziv’s list. If you know any of these films, leave us a mini-review - two or three sentences. What makes it a good elder movie?
- Add any films in the comments below that you believe have been overlooked and tell us why they should be included
- Include films about being old, getting older
- Include films with old characters that are well acted or portrayed
- Include films that may not be about aging overall, but include good scenes about or with elders
- Most of all, include films that add to our understanding of or celebrate what getting older is like
- Let us know which genre of storytelling the film falls into: drama, comedy, sci-fi, documentary, etc.
Later, I will collect them into a permanent section on Time Goes By that we can update with new films as they are released and with older ones we have previously overlooked.
[NOTE: Ziv's list includes only films that are available on DVD. This new list does not need to be limited in that way.]