Yesterday's post, Part 2 of this series, was supposed to be the end of it. But two pertinent things happened that make it worth extending for a day – especially because I think the topic of elder dating deserves a bit more depth and humor than my experience gave it.
Over several years, I have accumulated a modest collection of DVDs about old age. A few are documentaries but what I am more interested in are dramas, in how filmmakers approach the subject and how well they carry through either in interpretation of what I already know or enlightening me anew.
Sunday I rewatched a Peter O'Toole movie from 2006, Venus. O'Toole plays Maurice, a London actor in the twilight of his years who falls for Jessie, a pretty enough but slovenly, education-impaired 20-something from the provinces sent by her family to care for Maurice's declining friend, Ian.
As A.O. Scott observed in his New York Times review, the movie provided the filmmakers with a “rare opportunity to show how complicated, how impetuous, how alive older people can be.”
And so O'Toole/Maurice is. His desire for Jessie (whom he renames Venus after his favorite painting) arrived unexpectedly, late in life after his career and fame have waned. A diagnosis of cancer shadows his attraction for the young women but not the joy she brings him as he shows her around his London, showering her with gifts and his longing.
The film is beautifully written, magnificently acted, a poignant meditation on old age, desire and love of living. David Ansen described it well at the time in Newsweek: “A heartbreaking comedy that is simultaneously funny and sad, raunchy and sweet, funky and elegiac.”
Here is the original trailer:
Venus is available to stream on Netflix and can also be found to stream, rent or purchase at Amazon, Itunes, YouTube, Google Play and other venues.
O'Toole received a slew of best actor nominations for Venus including the U.S. Academy Awards. He died in 2013, leaving us with a library of great films portrayals that will always be there for us to watch again.
My second find turned up yesterday. I don't remember from whence (you know how it goes clicking around the web). This is an entirely different mood and is, unlike O'Toole's movie, specifically about elder dating.
First you need to know about Australia's annual Tropfest, said to be the world's largest festival for short films. It began in 1993 and now involves venues in 33 countries, according to Wikipedia.
This little film, titled Makeover, won second place at the 2014 Tropfest. Even though you, like me, will probably figure out what's coming, that doesn't make it any less funny and wonderful.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: TV Baseball