Are you weary of films about people younger than yourself? You may be over 40. Here are some suggestions.
Most films about people over forty are men, so the list below is woman heavy.
Some of these stories are really about young people, but told with the framing story of an older person looking back, so I’m not sure they really count as stories about older people.
These are in no order, except I will list my own favourites first. In my experience, if seeking out stories about characters over forty, your best bet on screen is TV rather than film. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Big Love, Greenleaf, Succession and Chernobyl are all prestige shows starring people over forty. Older British TV series also sometimes feature characters in their mid-years and beyond: Fawlty Towers, To The Manor Born and House of Cards.
Then there are TV shows like Six Feet Under and Friday Night Lights which give their older characters developed stories of their own. Nashville is specifically about a younger star rising up to replace the established middle age country music veteran. There’s an increasing number of TV detectives who are over the age of 40. One recent example is Mare of Easttown. These detectives balance their work lives with complicated family situations.
The idea that the glut of bad blockbusters is the result of “audience preference” is neoliberal nonsense. One of the main mechanisms of capitalism is eliminating competition and then figuring out exactly how crappy you can make something before people stop buying it.@mechanicalkurt, 7:46am · 26 Jul 2021
MY OWN FAVOURITES
Olive Kitteridge (2014)
Olive Kittridge isn’t a movie. It’s a four part miniseries based on the best-selling novels by Elizabeth Strout. However, if you binge watch it all at once, it works like a super long movie. Olive Kitteridge is a bristly character but highly relatable if you’ve hit middle age and find you have less patience for bullshit and pointless ceremony these days. Frances McDormand is perfectly cast, as is everyone else. Olive Kitteridge follows Olive into her old age, where she must face the particular challenges that come with looking your own mortality down the barrel of a gun.
Lonesome Dove (1989)
I’m a big fan of the novel series. Although Larry McMurtry’s 1985 novel Lonesome Dove was adapted for screen in the late 1980s, it’s still great. The old cowboys have come to their end of their lives and are craving another adventure, this time driving cattle from Texas up to Montana, where they believe they will make a fortune and live out the rest of their lives in comfort.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
Terms of Endearment is also based on a Larry McMurtry novel, this one from his Houston series. This story is definitely the best of that series, and focuses as much on the mother as her adult daughter.
The World’s Fastest Indian (2005)
Starring Anthony Hopkins. I have a soft spot for this film, being a Kiwi myself. Anthony Hopkins gets the accent absolutely right. Few New Zealanders themselves could manage an authentic Southland accent.
This is a 2005 New Zealand biographical sports drama based on the Invercargill, New Zealand, speed bike racer Burt Munro.
Munro rode a highly modified 1920 Indian Scout motorcycle. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1,000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. This film follows his trip to America, where he is a fish out of water.
Away From Her (2006)
Based on “The Bear Came Over The Mountain” by Alice Munro. The snowy landscape really sticks in my mind after watching this. Few films show what it’s really like to live with snow that settles. (That isn’t even what the film is about.)
Because it comes from Alice Munro, you can trust the story will be expansive and nuanced.
August: Osage County (2013)
There is nothing cheerful about this story, nor cosy. The setting is somewhat similar to that in Terms of Endearment, but this is a harrowing story about a family. The plot will sound familiar to everyone: Adults who’ve made their own lives in the cities return to their small hometown to deal with a family crisis.
The masterful thing about this story, clearly originally written for stage, is how the reveals are done. The first reveal is only a reveal for the characters because the audience has been let in on it first. The second reveal will surprise the audience. Then, when you think there can be no more reveals, there’s one more right at the end.
This is my favourite film starring Meryl Streep. The audience is right there alongside Meryl Streep’s nun as she deals with a terrible moral dilemma: Does she trust her gut instinct about the new priest, even though she has no firm evidence against him?
All Is Lost (2013)
Robert Redford. out on a sinking yacht/lifeboat by himself in the middle of the ocean, next to zero dialogue. I’ve seen a few ‘man stuck alone on a sinking boat’ films and this one has the pacing and tension just right. However, you won’t get me on a boat.
Secrets and Lies (1996)
I’m a fan of Mike Leigh, and more so the older I get. I did enjoy Secrets and Lies when it was fairly new (I was in my late teens) and it’s still good. It felt new to watch a film about working class people. I’d previously only really seen working class people in soaps such as Coronation Street, which is not realistic.
All Or Nothing (2002)
Another by Mike Leigh. The story of a marriage, again starring working class middle-aged people.
Vera Drake (2004)
Also by Mike Leigh. A shocking reminder of what society looks like when abortion is illegal. The cheerful disposition of the main character juxtaposes terribly against the setting, and the predicament she ends up in.
The Wife (2017)
Starring Glenn Close, based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer. The less you know about this story going in, the better.
The Wrestler (2008)
Starring Mickey Rourke, this is one of the few films which Australia’s Margaret and David both gave five out of five stars to.
Anyone who is getting old enough to find their body isn’t working as well as it used to will relate to this film, though it is very sad.
Can you imagine a universe where one flew over the cuckoo’s nest was the second highest grossing film of the year?? I Have to Believe we can go back as a culture to people making and watching Grown Up Media on that scale.@xtinatucker, 12:12am · 26 Jul 2021