The Narrative of Aging in Film

The Narrative of Aging in Film | Must See Movies!

Movies are a bit of an obsession for Sound Options' Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Brittany Deininger. You’ll often find her on a Wednesday night at The Grand Cinema in downtown Tacoma. She talks film, and the narrative of aging.

With all the Oscar buzz and talk of nominees, I am compelled to highlight a subject near and dear to me: the narrative of aging in film. I’ve picked four must see films that for me capture what it means to age with a sense of humor, humanity, and grace. In every good story and film, there is always conflict. A main character must encounter conflict, confront it, and by doing so, be changed.  The narrative of aging in film almost always has old age playing the role of conflict. A character must come to terms with the process and by doing so be empowered as a human being to live well.

Here are my film picks and the nuggets of truth I took away:    

1. Continually Create Community. We need people at all stages of life to buoy the self, share our stories with, and challenge us to continually grow. In the words of Bette Davis, "aging is no place for sissies", and shouldn’t be tackled alone. Aging is about choosing to have people in your life who make you a better person and to not give a hoot about those who do not.   


At a home for retired opera singers, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents. This film is truly about a life philosophy of, the show must go on!



2. Life is Constant Change. The better we are at adapting and embracing change, the greater chance we will have of thriving and loving our life in all its stages. We are like cell membranes constantly letting events and people pass in and out of us, to nourish us and teach us something for a short period of time.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. This is a story of community, the soul’s ability to adapt, and the courage to connect with new people and places.  



3. Bring Humor. Laughing at a situation gives the human spirit extreme power over it. When we are able to laugh at ourselves, we rise above hardship and are not only likely to come out all right, but to learn something in the process and gain a few friends as well.  

The Intouchables

 After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat from Paris hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker. Based on a true story, it follows the development of the unlikely and life-changing friendship. It is a beautiful image of caregiving, dignity, and a sense of humor in all things.   



4. We Are Our Stories. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser said, “The world is made up of stories, not atoms.” We are constantly making meaning out of the events in our lives. We must remember that we are the author of our own lives. We alone have the power to say what they mean to us and about us.

Trouble With The Curve

An ailing baseball scout in his twilight years takes his daughter along for one last recruiting trip. This film deals beautifully with the complicated relationship between an adult child and her aging parent and the deep responsibility they feel for one another despite the turmoil in their past.

Published on January 11, 2013.