It’s not so easy to find movies about characters in the 60+ age category, let alone ones that depict older adults in a positive light. Fortunately, some are available for free viewing on Kanopy and Hoopla attesting that seniors can indeed lead interesting and meaningful lives.
My Old Lady, a 2014 English movie adapted from Israel Horowitz’s book by the same title, can be streamed on Kanopy. This sophisticated portrait of a lady in her 90’s shows someone in full control of her sharp mind carrying on with her profession. She handles a scheming guest trying to displace her from her Paris home and deals with the drama which plays out when we learn family secrets about the intruder! With Maggie Smith in the lead role some delightful dialogue reminiscent of the one-line ‘zingers’ from the TV series Downton Abbey embellish this film and Kevin Kline holds his own. Well worth watching.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, inspiring older adults appear frequently among foreign language flicks, particularly from France where “joie de vivre” continues in later years. A noteworthy French movie from 2011 is All Together: Et si on vivait tous ensemble which not only shows five friends courageously living together when one of them can no longer live alone, but also successfully handling problems on their own which inevitably come with aging. Iconic actor Jane Fonda depicts graceful aging through her character Jeanne, while the other four actors lend creativity and feistiness to their character depictions. The taboo topic of sex in older life is also candidly depicted and the film is thought-provoking and modern.
Other selected French titles on my Kanopy “to watch” list are: Paulette, which features an older woman who sells cannabis; On My Way: Elle s’en va, starring Catherine Deneuve as an aging beauty queen; The Country Doctor: Medecin de compagne, in which an older country doctor grapples with a middle-aged female physician from the city; The Sweet Escape: Comme un avion, with older male actors, and My Afternoons with Margueritte: La tete en friche, in which Germain befriends 95-year-old Margueritte.
Last but not least, one can stream Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days: Pekorosuno no Haha ni Ai ni Iku, a gem of a film by Azuma Morisake who is Japan’s oldest active filmmaker at age 85! The story of Pecoross’ mother’s decline into a state of dementia which he can no longer handle on his own is portrayed with gentle humor, respect, and courage. The touching scene showing Mitsue’s perfectly happy moments on a familiar bridge with her imaginary young family of the past beautifully ends the movie on a positive note with the son declaring,“I am glad for you. Forgetting is not so bad after all!”
~ Posted by Maryte R.