Watching movies with older characters rebuilding their lives, is sometimes exactly what we need. Especially if we are going through a challenging time, such as a loved one has died, or we are making a huge change in our lives. Since Mum died in December, I’ve needed to see a world that carries on despite sadness and setbacks. And, right now, older characters comfort me the most. I want to see people who have been through a lot, but manage to carry on. So ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, and its sequel, have been regulars on my DVD player.
I invite you to look beyond your usual movies, and explore stories with characters of a different age, or circumstance, than you would normally watch.
When life has you down, here’s some excellent movies with older characters, to set you on the path to feeling hopeful again:
1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011
Starring the fabulous Judi Dench, Bill Nighy (who was so hilarious in Love Actually), and Dev Patel (who has recently starred in Lion), among many other superb actors.
A group of retirees from Britain, travel to India to stay in a hotel that does not live up to its advertisements. The young man (played by Dev Patel) who runs the hotel, has bigger dreams than the know-how on how to make them come to fruition. The Brits end up arriving to a hotel that looks more ramshackle than glorious, with some of the rooms not even having doors, and a hotel manager who has no idea how to manage. As the residents settle in, we watch them adapt to their new surroundings, and come to grips with growing older.
2. The Intern, 2015
I wasn’t quite sure of this one when I first started watching it, but Robert De Niro won me over. An older gentleman with a dapper way of dressing, I found my heart warming to him as I watched him live his very organised but lonely life after his wife has died. Needing something to do, he gets a job as an intern to a CEO who isn’t at all convinced she needs one. The unfolding of their relationship, and the way his values and experience begin to flow on to the younger people around him, is just charming. After watching this I wanted my very own older intern to add their wise perspective to my life. This movie is a great reminder that people have value, at any age. We don’t suddenly become useless and worthless at retirement.
3. It’s Complicated, 2009
With characters who aren’t as old as the previous movies, this is such a great movie I had to add it. There are so many good actors in this movie: Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, and the very funny John Krasinski. And, for those of you who have had the joy of seeing Man Up, there is also Lake Bell who plays Alec Baldwin’s new wife (she is fantastic in Man Up, which is a very funny and relatable movie, I highly recommend).
Jane, a woman who has been divorced from her husband for over 10 years and is now seeing her last child leave the nest, finds herself having an affair with her ex-husband when a dinner turns into something more. While she’s sorting out the tangled mess, she meets an architect who is still hurting from his own divorce several years previously.
This is so well acted, and is so good.
And that’s just for starters! There are so many excellent movies with older characters showing us how life should be lived. And how it’s a privilege to get older.