“Sage-ing” in the Movies

There are so many thought-provoking movies on subjects related to elderhood! All these films are readily available through services like Netflix or at Amazon. Gather friends and family to watch and discuss together, or enjoy a movie on your own to stimulate your thoughts.

Click on a movie title to read a review by Roger Ebert:

The next set of films is from the IMDB website. Click on the title to read a review:

The films listed below are recommended by Spirituality and Practice. Click the titles to read more about each film at their website.

  • About Schmidt is a bittersweet portrait of a Midwesterner whose disappointments in life have made him into an angry man. A trip out West in his camper and a pen-pal relationship with a six-year-old African orphan help turn him around as he discovers the really important things in life.
  • All Together is a French language dramady about five friends who decide to live together in one house when a member of their group reaches a point when he can no longer live alone. It is fascinating to watch these 70 year olds handle the problems which arise when they spend every day with each other rather than just getting together for dinners.
  • Amour, an Academy-Award winning film, is a poignant and provocative drama about unconditional love, old age, illness, caregiving, and dying. It is also about the elegant dance of a long-lived and fulfilling marriage.
  • The First Grader is the inspiring true story of an 85-year-old Kenyan farmer who wants to go to school to learn how to read. Many parents do not want their children fraternizing with this old man, but his dream is championed by the school principal. This drama will have you cheering for the shared idealism of the old man and the young teacher who bond across the generations to do the right thing.
  • 5 Flights Up is a demonstration by a long-married couple of what it means to truly be in sync with each other.
  • I’ll See You in My Dreams is an emotionally rich drama that conveys the sunshine and shadows of the elder years.
  • Men With Guns illustrates a common task in old age — to secure one’s legacy. A wealthy physician in an unnamed Latin American country who is nearing retirement decides to visit the medical students he trained to serve poor villagers in the countryside. His quest opens and softens his heart.
  • My Afternoons with Margueritte is a cross-generational French film that celebrates the wisdom of the heart and the mind in tandem. Germain is a jack-of-all trades who befriends Margueritte, a 95-year-old woman who shares his interest in pigeons. She brings him into the wonderful world of books with a gift of one. Their friendship deepens as they are both lifted by the camaraderie of experiencing literary masterworks together.
  • Nebraska is about a son who joins his irritable dad on the road and in the process opens himself to truly honoring the old man’s quest for dignity and to leave a legacy. Here aging is not a matter of chronological years but of moving through “soul time,” a process of cross-generational learning.
  • Nobody’s Fool shows that the last stage of life can be one of personal renewal. A crusty and cantankerous handyman in a small town discovers that it is never too late to stir the ashes and light up your life with the glow that comes from the love of family and friends.
  • Philomena is a spiritual drama about the dynamics of faith, forgiveness, hope, and love. It arouses a rich blend of emotions in its thematic treatment of the power of forgiveness, faith in God, the responses of two very different individuals to the Catholic church’s exploitation of women and its judgmental view of sexuality outside marriage, and the place of humor in the grand scheme of life.