This month, with the impending onset of autumn why not deal with your mortality by “Netflixing” films dealing with people getting on in years.
Harold and Maude – (Hal Ashby) – ★★★★★
Harold and Maude is a very, very special film as far as I’m concerned, there’s simply nothing else really like it. It deals with Harold, a morbid young man who spends his days faking his own suicide to annoy his mother and going to funerals of people he’s never met. At one of these funerals, he meets Maude, a 79-year-old woman full of life, almost disturbingly so.
While a lot of humour comes from the craziness of the set up, it rarely patronises either character, which is no mean feat and also deals with the big question of what makes life worth living. It’s also peppered with anti-disestablishment and anti-war ideas and Cat Stevens songs. The film is very much of its time, but this isn’t a criticism, it’s actually a joy.
Le Week-end (Roger Michell) – ★★★★½
Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan play an older couple whose best days seem to be behind them. In order to rekindle their love for each other which seems to have dwindled over the years, they attempt to recreate their honeymoon in Paris to very mixed results.
Funny, heart-breaking, crude and brilliantly funny in equal measure. Jeff Goldblum also pops up and brings the usual gusto to his role as an old friend they bump into on their way around town.
Bill Cunningham New York (Richard Press) – ★★★★
A documentary about the 80-something photo-journalist Bill Cunningham, who over the decades has captured New York with his camera, in particular all the changing trends in fashion and style. While regularly shooting high fashion, he’s just at home and as intrigued photographing everyday people who he spots while going around on his bicycle.
The film does a particularly great job of showing the joy and pain that can come from devoting your life to one thing and getting a peek at the real man behind the camera.
Amour – (Michael Haneke) – ★★★★
Probably shouldn’t end with such a downer but here we go anyways. Georges and Anne are retired music teachers in their eighties living out their final years when unfortunately Anne takes ill and everything changes.
A film not for the faint-hearted (not in a Die Hard kinda way obviously), it manages to be extremely emotional and empathy inducing but ice cold at the same time in how it deals with the harshest realities of getting old.