The Film Industry Gets a Clue.
TV jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago with a variety of compelling shows featuring aging as an opportunity, not an obstacle. “Grace & Frankie,” “The Kominsky Method,” “Hacks,” and “Only Murder in the Building” have all solidified that there’s a market for a pro-aging narrative.
Unfortunately, so many of the 21st-century feature films still feel like they’re trapped in the “On Golden Pond” school of filmmaking—sappy, melancholic, and out of touch.
That’s why I’m so encouraged that Emma Thompson’s new film, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” is getting a lot of attention, not just from the Oscar-watchers but also from the mainstream. And that’s partly because it’s a compelling coming-of-age tale for both a handsome, young biracial male prostitute, Dylan McCormack, and Thompson, a 60ish woman who realizes that it’s time to give sex another chance. Yes, there’s some skin exposed later in the film but it’s sort of a “My Dinner With Andre” in the boudoir.
Ultimately, this is really Nancy’s poignant coming-of-age story— confronting shame about sex, the power dynamic of young and old, hustler and client, man and woman, dark and light. If you’re not a Hulu subscriber, it may be worth subscribing just to see this touching film. Earlier this week, there was an exquisite NY Times Op-Ed that talked about the film and our hopefully-inevitable move from the summer to the autumn of our lives.
And then, while not nearly as good, “Mack & Rita” was just featured in the New York Times under the title “Boomers Are All the Rage.” It’s the story of a 30-year-old writer who is tapping into her 70-year-old spirit. The film is an extension of the “coastal grandmother” meme as a growing number of Millennials are obsessed with Diane Keaton and “cottage porn” that feels like it’s right out of the 1970s. I sense it’s less about pro-aging and more about the pro-simplicity of a pre-social media time.
Here’s an excerpt from the Times story:
“Paul Welsh and Madeline Walter, who co-wrote ‘Mack & Rita’ in 2018, said the idea was born one Monday morning when, instead of working, the pair was espousing the virtues of Burt’s Bees eye cream and the British crime drama “Broadchurch.” The writers realized their interests were skewing senior, and they were not alone.
The film ‘was honestly the answer to conversations that, as people in our 30s, we were hearing people around us having all the time,’ said Mr. Welsh, 39. ‘There was this collective exhaustion of people who were a little burnt out on the idea that you have to strive or have to be competitive,’ Ms. Walter said. ‘So what would a wish-fulfillment movie look like where someone wishes to be old? It’s not a punishment. It’s nothing to be afraid of.’”