I just watched a charming new French movie – no, not The Artist, although I loved that movie as well. My Afternoons with Margueritte, starring Gerard Depardieu, is about a touching friendship between an uneducated middle-aged man and a sophisticated, quite elderly woman. It got me to thinking about other movies with intergenerational themes. There are lots of excellent movies about family relationships. But movies about unrelated people who create their own families are more unusual.
One of my favorites is Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, a recent British film starring the wonderful Joan Plowright. And of course there’s Harold and Maude from 1971. All three of these movies are about friendships between younger men and much older women.
Another excellent movie with an intergenerational theme is the enchanting Italian comedy Mid-August Lunch, in which a 60-something man finds himself caring for his elderly mother as well as three other women in their 90’s. Assisted Living concerns a stoner janitor who works in a nursing home, and the resident with dementia who confuses him for her son. On another note (literally), the documentary Young @ Heart chronicles the experiences of an internationally known a cappella chorus of senior citizens from Northampton, Massachusetts that sings rock songs. It is upbeat, funny, inspirational, and sad, all at the same time.
A delightful movie about two thirteen year olds and an unrelated adult features Laurence Olivier. It is a little known gem from1979 called A Little Romance. Omar Sharif stars as the eponymous Monsieur Ibrahim in a 2003 French movie about a boy seeking kindness and guidance from an unrelated adult. And then there is the Academy Award winning Driving Miss Daisy from 1989, in which two people of different socio-economic, religious, and racial backgrounds learn to admit their affection for and appreciation of each other.
You can probably think of other films with this theme. And you can borrow most any DVD you want to watch from the Robbins Library. If we don’t own it, we will try to borrow it for you from another library. Feature films cost $1.00 for a week’s rental; borrow two for the price of one all day Wednesday. Documentaries are always free.