Suggested films—comedy, drama, and documentary—that deal with the aging process.
Poetry (2010) "Shi" (original South Korean title) Film about caring for a disabled elder. A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.
Hunting and Gathering (2007) Film about being with an aging mother. When Camille (Audrey Tautou) falls ill, she is forced to live with Philibert and Franck (Guillaume Canet). A moving trio story.
Mid-August Lunch (2008) In this comedy, Gianni is a middle-aged man living in Rome with his imposing and demanding elderly mother. His only outlet from her and the increasing debt into which they are sinking, are the frequent sessions at the local tavern. As an Oriental saying goes, 'Moments of crisis are moments of opportunities'. These appear during the celebration of the holiday of Ferragosto. That's when everybody leaves town to have fun. Opportunity knocks on Gianni's door in an unexpected way,
Age-Old Friends (1989) John Cooper is in a retirement home. There are strict rules for the residents, but he refuses to fall into passivity. He flirts constantly with Nurse Wilson and spends time with his best buddy Michael Aylott, who's slowly drifting into senility. The movie portrays the fight for independence and dignity in old age.
A Song For Martin A composer and concertmaster fall in love and marry. Five years later he is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and his personality changes cause them to struggle to hold on to their love
Firefly Dreams (2001) Starring Maho, Tsutomu Niwa, and Etsuko Kimata A teenager tends to an aging neighbor.
Conversations With Mother (2004)"Conversaciones Con Mama" (Spanish/Argentinian subtitles) Jaime has lost his job and has to provide for his wife, son and daughter. Pressured by this circumstances, he visits his mom, who lives in an apartment he owns, to ask her to move with him so he can sell the apartment. But she is not going to cooperate. And, to Jaime's surprise, she also has a boyfriend!
Another Year (2010) A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.
Elsa and Fred (2005) (Spanish/Argentine comedy with subtitles) When the retired seventy-seven years old hypochondriac widower Fred moves to an apartment in Madrid, his temperamental daughter Cuca has an incident with his next door neighbor, the elder Argentinean Elsa. Later, they meet each other and Elsa seduces Fred with her reckless behavior and view of life and they have a romance.
Away From Her (2006) A man coping with the institutionalization of his wife because of Alzheimer's disease faces an epiphany when she transfers her affections to another man, Aubrey, a wheelchair-bound mute who also is a patient at the nursing home.
The Notebook (2004) In a nursing home, resident Duke reads a romance story for an old woman who has senile dementia with memory loss: In the late 1930s, a poor and passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman and gives her a sense of freedom. They soon are separated by their social differences.
Iris (2001) True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Everybody's Fine / Stanno Tutti Bene (1990) Matteo Scuro is a retired Sicilian bureaucrat (responsible mainly for the writing of birth certificates), a widower with five children, all of whom live on the mainland and hold responsible jobs. He decides to surprise each with a visit and finds none as he imagined. The film is a veritable travelogue across contemporary Italy, as Matteo journeys to Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan, and Turin to search for each of his children; he even spends one night on the streets among the homeless. Scuro returns to Sicily, visits his wife's grave, and reports with irony that "stanno tutti bene."
The Whales of August (1987) Summer people in Maine: things are changing. Whales no longer pass close to the shore as they did during the youth of two elderly widowed sisters who have a seaside home where they've summered for 50 years. Libby is blind, contrary, and seemingly getting ready to die. Sarah is attentive to her sister, worried about continuing to care for her, and half interested in an old Russian aristocrat who fishes from their shore. It's the eve of Sarah's 46th wedding anniversary. The Russian offers some fish he's caught, Sarah invites him to dinner, and Libby gets her back up. Sarah wonders if it isn't time to sell the place and find a home for Libby. What alternatives do old people have?
Strangers in Good Company (1990) A busload of women become stranded in an isolated part of the Canadian countryside. As they await rescue, they reflect on their lives through a mostly ad-libbed script.
Foxfire (1955) A woman accompanies her half-Apache husband to a mining community where he will supervise the excavation of an almost mythical Apache treasure. His jealous rages and macho attitude cause her misery, while the excavation project is threatened by prejudice and fear. She tries to bridge the cultural gap, and he must do the same, or he will lose her.
The Straight Story (1999) An old man makes a long journey by lawn-mover tractor to mend his relationship with an ill brother.
About Schmidt (2002) A man upon retirement embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.
Secondhand Lions (2003) A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.
Aurora Borealis (2005) A troubled young man struggling to right himself after the premature death of his father.
Ballad of Narayama (1983) (English subtitles) In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
Umberto D. (1952) A elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.
Innocence (2000) After more than forty years apart, Andreas and Claire embark on an affair as reckless and intense as when they were young lovers. Widowed musician Andreas decides to get back in touch with his one great love, Claire, who is still married to her first husband, John. Andreas and Claire find that the connection they shared when they were young is still there and they soon become involved in a rekindled love affair. However, this time around, there are more complications, including the possibilities of ill health and death, as well as the impact their relationship might have on John.
Buena Vista Social Club (1999) Aging Cuban musicians whose talents had been virtually forgotten following Castro's takeover of Cuba, are brought out of retirement by Ry Cooder, who travelled to Havana in order to bring the musicians together, resulting in triumphant performances of extraordinary music, and resurrecting the musicians' careers.
Wild Strawberries (1957) After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) Two lonely, retired septuagenarians, an unkempt, hard-drinking Irish sea captain, and a fussy, well-mannered Cuban barber form an uneasy friendship.
On Golden Pond (1981) The loons are back on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea, whom they haven't seen for years, feels she must be there for Norman's birthday. She and her fiance are on their way to Europe the next day but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiance's son. When she returns Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate?
SLOW MEDICINE FOR ELDERS The compassionate approach to caring for aging loved ones Dennis McCullough, M.D.