Aging in Cinema

Which movie or movies show(s) the most realistic human aging? What makes the portrayal of the aging process especially realistic or effective? Besides physical changes, what psychological, mental, or spiritual changes are shown in the film(s)? What, if any, abilities lost with youth are most dearly missed?

  • The first film that came to mind after reading this topic was Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen. It does a fantastic job showing how someone like Sherlock Holmes, famous for his sharp intellect, also must eventually deal with the challenges of old age, specifically memory loss. – KennethC 6 years ago
  • Interesting topic. Some films that come to mind: Burn After Reading (the Coen brothers' ode to aging), Up (an all around perfect film, that forces its audience - comprised predominantly of children - to confront mortality in its first fifteen minutes), While We're Young (a heartwarming indie flick about middle age), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (not exactly "realistic" per se, but examines the subject well and seriously drives home the point of "youth is wasted on the young"). – ProtoCanon 6 years ago
  • Kenneth, your comment makes me think of Flowers for Algernon where the intellectual drop-off for a genius is sharper than for an average person. I know that's a special case, but wonder if it's generally true. ProtoCanon, I saw that someone had written either an article or a topic regarding unusual aging (I think), and it included Benjamin Button, Eric Roth's Forrest Gump part two, in my opinion. I also love Up. If you like music, Bob Dylan's "Highlands" - an ode to longing for youth - will steal 16 minutes of your brief life in what seems like five. It'll also bring a whole new meaning to hard-boiled eggs and an artist's pencil. – Tigey 6 years ago
  • Perhaps I'm biased because I've been thinking of this film A LOT lately, but I'm fascinated with the representation of age and mental health portrayed in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" Obviously, this film is quite dramatic given it's both a psychological thriller and from the 60's, however, its dedication to representing the damaging effects of untreated mental illness is inspired. Both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were in their 50's at the time, and neither was cinched, glamorized, or portrayed too empathetically; indeed, both of them were, through makeup and wardrobe, pushed to their frumpiest. Although I'm sure Simone de Beauvior would have something to say about the connection of age and madness or age and disgust (a la her book, "The Coming of Age"), the film pulls no stops examining how haggard these sisters have become after exceptionally rough lives, both due to the unfairness of their childhood and their choices as adults. – Kitty Davies 6 years ago
  • Kitty, that's a whole new angle on the topic: dysfunctional child is father to the dysfunctional man and how that accelerates aging. Our choices live past our deaths through our survivors. It's easy for me to blame ancestors for the poor choices I make today, but not easy to determine how much of my stuff is really their stuff, and how much is my own lack of character. It's important to choose the right parents. – Tigey 6 years ago
  • What do you mean by "realistic aging"? Every person ages differently. – T. Palomino 5 months ago

Want to write about Film or other art forms?

Create writer account