Top 5 Movies About Getting Older…

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Age-net’s top 5 films on the subject of Ageing

In life, ageing and death are both inevitable. However, rather than being a signal for the end of life, ageing has remained a mystery for most. Time changes you as you progress through your life.Your personality changes as you mature, your eyes open, and your mind expands to welcome new perceptions and ways of thinking. If you think about the last decade or two, you will see how your taste in music has changed, your emotions have evolved, and how different your surroundings are now.

Perhaps not all of these changes are positive either. Some people become more limited and feel even less than they once did.

Time changes everyone. The experiences we gain allow us to better deal with any challenges we might face in the future. Similarly, what we fail to learn will only cripple us in the end. This is why movies rarely dare to explore the themes of age and ageing. Many of us are too scared to see the frailties that accompany age as well as the inevitability of death. Yet when films really do take on the challenge of portraying ageing realistically, they bring wisdom and understanding. They bring hope and show us what to expect.

Here are the top 10 films about ageing and the elderly. While some are funny, some are also difficult to watch. Yet all of them hold wise words of truth, wisdom that can benefit all of us.

1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – 2008

IMDb rating: 7.8/10
Stars: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton
Director: David Finch
Awards: 3 Oscars, 3 BAFTA’s
Age-net rating: [usr=4.2]

Most people fear ageing because it often brings loss. Friends disappear and family members leave all too soon. Loved and treasured connections are lost and memories begin to slip away.

Benjamin Button is one that experienced everything in reserve as he grows younger rather than older. With a unique spin such as this, the director invites viewers to explore the familiar concepts of ageing, life, and death in new ways. As he goes forward to become even needier than before, he slowly loses his loved ones.

This film helps viewers address loss later in life as well as the unavoidable dependency most will need to accept. What is even worse than those fears might be the possibility of having to face these fears alone. While Benjamin feels isolated because no one else has gone through the same experiences as him due to his unique circumstances, many others feel alone on this part of their journey as well. This film does an excellent job of showing how one can deal with these fears without feeling hopeless and desolate.

Even though Benjamin’s experience is certainly one-of-a-kind and never seen before, viewers will find that he shares the same fears and turmoil as everyone else as they head into the unknown future.

Watch the trailer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button below:

2. Tokyo Story – 1953

IMDb rating: 8.3/10
Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Awards: 1 British Film Institute Award
Age-net rating: [usr=3.8]

Sometimes, society outgrows its elderly. If you look at Japan after World War II, the elderly was left behind as young, rural citizens headed for new technologies and bigger cities. Instead, tradition remains out-dated and inapplicable. The change was tremendous, yet quick and swift, leaving no time for transitions and adjustment.

This masterpiece follows an ageing couple that pays a visit to their children within the city. While their children are too busy to care for the elderly with their old-fashioned ways, a widowed daughter-in-law treats them with the respect that they have earned and appreciates their past.

This film expresses the fears some of us have about being left behind in this quickly progressing society that continues to be driven forward by technology. It shows feelings derived from displacement as the new is ushered in and the old is forced out. Yet, it reminds viewers about the importance of tradition as well as the wisdom gained from years of experience in a world where effort always pays off.

Watch the trailer for Tokyo Story below:

3. Amour – 2012

IMDb rating: 7.8/10
Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert
Director: Michael Haneke
Awards: 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe, 2 BAFTA’s
Age-net rating: [usr=4.5]

As you age, you generally become needier and dependent. This film explores what it would be like if the love of your life suddenly becomes totally dependent and unable to function on his or her own. Most loving couples dread the idea of being forcibly separated in the future, with one being left alone on Earth to live without the other for the first time in forever. Worst of all, there is no way to choose who is left behind and who journeys forward first. This film brings this fear into reality.

The characters address what the true meaning of strength is at these uncertain and difficult moments within life. It also shows what true love means without concerns for wealth and appearances distorting it. Here, the characters experience heartache as they try to deal with the oncoming yet inevitable prospect of losing their love.

Watch the trailer for Amour below:

4. Away from Her – 2006

IMDb rating: 7.6/10
Stars: Julie Christie, Michael Murphy, Gordon Pinsent
Director: Sarah Polley
Awards: 1 Golden Globe, nominated for 2 Oscars
Age-net rating: [usr=4.3]

This film explores the terrifying circumstance in which one member of a once loving couple no longer remembers the other. Fiona has been married with Grant for over 40 years, even if it really feels like it has been forever. Their life together has been most happy although they did have their fair share of challenges. However, Fiona starts developing Alzheimer’s, and they are faced with problems that they never knew they would need to face.

With too much respect within her, Fiona decides to spare Grant of the torture of seeing her decay and decides to check herself into a nursery home. The rules there dictate that family members do not visit for at least 30 days, to help new patients to adjust fully to their new lives. Yet, despite her wishes, Fiona forgets about her spouse and starts a new relationship with another resident. Prepare yourself for heartbreak as the story progresses.

Watch the trailer for Away From Her below:

5. Harry and Tonto – 1974

IMDb rating: 7.5/10
Stars: Art Carney, Ellen Burstyn, René Enríquez
Director: Paul Mazursky
Awards: 1 Oscar, 1 Golden Globe
Age-net rating: [usr=4.0]

A grumpy old widower is forced to leave his New York apartment. He goes on a cross-country journey as he reflects upon everything within his life.

Not only is sex as well as scandal involved, but depression and dementia are featured as well. Although the film is filled with humour, there is no denying how the film exposes the viewers to the basic truths of ageing and life.

Watch the trailer for Harry and Tonto below

 Honourable mentions:

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – 2011
  • Gran Torino – 2008
  • Elsa & Fred – 2014
  • Driving Miss Daisy – 1989

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